Project Top 10 Titans of ZU!

approved by ZU staff
OP largely taken from the
gen 8 OU thread

SS ZU brought forth many team styles and tiering approaches to the table. Not only was a generational mechanic banned for the first time, but a large range of Pokemon were also actively removed from the metagame starting out, and even more challenging was that many of these Pokemon were reintroduced in massive bursts with not just one, but two DLC drops. As such, SS ZU went through multiple key phases, with several Pokemon excelling in some areas (and continuing to!) but falling flat in others. This makes the evaluation process for the tier's Top 10 titans a very unique experience compared to previous iterations of this project.

With the unique nature of Gen 8 ZU put on the table, there's clearly quite a bit to discuss, and a diverse pool of Pokemon that could be feasibly nominated here. The big question that we will try to answer with this thread is, which of all the Pokemon were the 10 most influential throughout the entirety of Gen 8?

From June 13th to July 4th, you will nominate Pokemon that will be voted on for the top 10 most influential Pokemon throughout Gen 8. After that, you will all evaluate all the nominations and individually rank the Pokemon from 1-10 by vote. As long as the nominations are reasonable and fit the criteria, they will be counted. Please keep in mind that we're ranking Pokemon not only because of how good they are in the viability rankings, but we're ranking Pokemon based on how influential they've been. When nominating Pokemon, consider their influence not just in the current Crown Tundra format, but in the Isle of Armor, Home, and Pre-Home metagames as well (if they were there, of course)!

Please use the format below to frame your posts or we won't count them!

Enter your nominee's sprite here.
:ss/pokemon:


What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?

Explain how the Pokemon effected the metagame as whole, and how the metagame adapted around it. A brief description of which Pokemon it countered and which Pokemon it did well against would be good here as well. Be sure to consider their impact in previous iterations of SS ZU as well if they weren't removed.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?

Explain why this Pokemon was used on a team more often then most other Pokemon, and what was it particularly used for? What made it so good at this role?

What caused it to have a significant impact?

What exactly made this Pokemon have such a large impact on the metagame? Was it its stats, ability, useful resistances, amazing synergy, or the ability to sweep most of the metagame very easily? Did a certain Pokemon cause it to become that much better when it was partnered with it?

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?

What are the best checks/counters to this Pokemon? How does the metagame adapt to this Pokemon?

:ss/Sawk:

What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?

Sawk had multiple viable sets that made it a dominant force since it dropped to ZU, since most of the metagame needed to have either a faster revenge killer or a sturdy physical wall to ward its assaults. Its combination of speed and power was nearly unrivaled.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?

Sawk was renowned for its revenge killing capabilities with a Choice Scarf set, but it could also run Choice Band to become even more difficult to switch into. Black Belt sets bluffed a Choice item and allowed Sawk to make better use of its coverage moves. Mold Breaker allowed for easier predictions against foes like Uxie and Rotom, though Inner Focus could be used for a better Kangaskhan matchup. Alongside Close Combat, Knock Off also gave Sawk utility in the early and middle stages of a game.

What caused it to have a significant impact?

With one of the highest viable Attack stats, a splendid movepool, and multiple viable sets, Sawk shaped the metagame significantly, making it a driving force for offensive and balance teams.


How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?

Physical walls like Tangela, Alcremie, and Altaria could use their bulk to discourage Sawk from using Close Combat and limit its damage potential throughout the game. Uxie and Qwilfish could also work, though their lack of reliable recovery made them more prone to being worn down. Bulky Ghost-types like Gourgeist-XL, Sableye, Jellicent and Spiritomb were also really annoying since most of them had reliable recovery to limit its progress. Depending on the set Sawk ran, faster revenge killers like faster scarf users like Rotom, Manectric, and Cinccino could take it out with some prior chip, though they couldn’t switch in safely.

You can reserve nominations, but make sure to finish them in 24 hours, or they will be back up for grabs! Also, you can only reserve one nomination at a time. This is to make sure that your reservation gets done before you finish another. If you pick a Pokemon that has more than one form, be sure to clarify which it is.

All nominations: :Sawk: :Tangela: :Rotom: :Thwackey: :Centiskorch: :Gourgeist: :Klang: and :Klinklang: :pyukumuku: :Ground memory: :Sandslash-alola: :Alcremie: :Ludicolo: :Glalie: and :Froslass: :Persian: and :Persian-Alola: :Ivysaur::Qwilfish: :Pincurchin: :Kangaskhan: :Jynx: :Rhydon: :Hattrem: :Electric Memory: :Altaria: :Wishiwashi: :Grapploct: :Pikachu: :Grookey: :Grass Memory: :Machoke: :Togetic::Eldegoss: :Sneasel::Articuno: :Miltank:

Top 10 Titans of SS ZU:
1. :ss/Thwackey:
2. :ss/Rotom:
3. :ss/Gourgeist:
4. :ss/Klang: and :ss/Klinklang:
5. :ss/Tangela:
6. :ss/Sawk:
7. :ss/Ivysaur:
8. :ss/pyukumuku:
9. :ss/Alcremie:
10. :ss/Silvally-Ground:
 
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Jett

peepoSit
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reserving Sawk because I sawk at this game

reserving Tangela instead because im blind and didn't realise the OP already did Sawk


:ss/tangela:
(fresh creps)

What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?

For most of Gen 8 ZU physical attackers have dominated play, with Kangaskhan, Thwackey, Silvally Ground, and Sawk being some of the more notable threats. Tangela cements itself as the best physical wall throughout its tenure having been a consistent and excellent answer to all of the aforementioned threats. At its worst it was seen as a sidegrade to Eldegoss during a metagame which was filled with special attackers and Ice-types, but at its best it was regarded as the best Pokemon in the entire metagame. Speaking of Eldegoss, most other Grass-types did not see much (sun)light because of the dominance of Tangela and how easily noodle boy fits onto most teams. Currently, Tangela enjoys being one of the few Pokemon that can reliably switch into Rhydon and continues to be a nuisance to other physical attackers with its naturally high physical bulk and utility.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?

Tangela has always been used as a physical wall, although on a few occasions players opted to make Tangela more offensive with Leaf Storm and even Special Attack investment. It was also a great utility Pokemon. It always ran Knock Off to pressure switch-ins, several of which depended Heavy-Duty Boots but also had a very flexible 4th slot. Sleep Powder was largely the default for a long time as it could completely shut down a Pokemon on the switch that would be able to setup on Tangela such as Skuntank or Klinklang. Stun Spore could cripple multiple Pokemon instead but achieved a similar purpose. Leech Seed allowed Tangela to perform more of a glue role, and would be especially important for holding teams which relied on other defensive walls that lacked reliable recovery (Rhydon, Stunfisk, Alolan Persian, Uxie, Coalossal etc.). Synthesis also worked for my recovery but only for Tangela, and lastly Worry Seed could be used to deal with Malamar.

What caused it to have a significant impact?

Regenerator; this ability alone solved many issues that other walls had as Tangela did not need to waste turns and a move slot on recovery given that its ability moves like Giga Drain and sometimes Leech Seed would provide it was insane longevity. Its incredible physical bulk further bolstered by Eviolite in conjunction with such reliable recovery has allowed it to stick around as the premier physical wall and defensive Grass-type throughout the generation. Many Pokemon paired well with it ranging from ClefTang to TangDash but in reality Tangela was the Pokemon that bolstered the success of other Pokemon and not the other way around as it was so consistently good at its role. Physical attackers would require much more support to deal with Tangela than any other Pokemon due to its unrivalled sticking power when compared to other physical walls which have been around the top (mainly looking at Cofagrigus and Uxie).

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?

- Special Attackers. Due to Tangela's abysmal Special Defense, strong Special attackers could force out Tangela. Examples include the Rotom, Skuntank, Jynx, and Ninetales. Especially during the Hail metagame, where Ice-types like Aurorus and Vanilluxe saw a lot of usage was when Tangela struggled the most and we saw Eldegoss used a bit more instead.

- Utility moves like Knock Off and Toxic. Tangela was pretty reliant on Eviolite to be an amazing blanket check into every physical attacker, and while its naturally high bulk still made it great once it lost the item, it did make it a lot less consistent into some of the strongest breakers such as Choice Band Sawk and Silk Scarf Kangaskhan. Toxic looked for a more long-term route of punishing Tangela as it meant that Tangela could not just stay in on Pokemon and slowly wear them down as much.

- Set up. Despite Tangela's high base 100 Special Attack, it still suffers from some passivity issues given that its coverage of Grass- and Poison-type can be shrugged off by Poison- and Steel-types so Silvally-Poison, Rapidash, and Klinklang could deal with it pretty easily so long as they avoided its status moves, despite both being physical attackers.
 
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Corthius

average Thwackey enthusiast
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Enter your nominee's sprite here.
:ss/rotom:


What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?

If you think about Rotom, you think about one main thing; Volt Switch. Rotom, with its great utility movepool like Trick and Will-O-Wisp and STAB combination, is the main reason you always need to run some sort of Electric immunity, no matter which team archetype you are using. It has an incredible offensive matchup with Choice Scarf and Volt Switch being a key element of many VoltTurn cores in SSZU. It's because of Rotom's easy matchup into its checks that make other Electric types like Manectric and Raichu being rather specific and niche.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?

Rotom's best role is as a Choice Scarfer that can gain a lot of momentum for your team, while also being incredible speed control that can handle a bunch of set up threats like Shell Smash Carracosta and Crustle and Quiver Dance Butterfree. You'd use Rotom over other Volt Switch user like Manectric due to its superior matchup into almost every Volt Switch immunity while also having more defensive utility, like a Fighting and Ground immunity, good versus scouted opponents.

What caused it to have a significant impact?

Rotom is a prime pick because of how momentum based the metagame is and it being one of the best pokemon to generate said momentum. It does have decent success with Nasty Plot itself but it is much better at keeping offensive pressure and gaining momentum for a strong partner. It's Rotom that made many VoltTurn cores so incredibly dangerous and if anything other pokemon became much better when paired with it, not vice versa.

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?

Rotom doesn't really have any counters. Many Ground types get easily overwhelmed by repeated Shadow Ball or Will-O-Wisp + Hex, other Electric immune pokemon like Manectric are too frail to really stand it Rotom's way throughout the match. The best way to check Rotom is having a Ground type that can block a Volt Switch from Choice Scarf/Specs Rotom and force a Trick, then pressure it with faster offensive threats like Silvally formes. Damage from Stealth Rock can also put Rotom in range of some attacks more easily, notably priority.
 
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Aaronboyer

Something Worth Fighting For
is a Social Media Contributoris a Contributor to Smogon
I don't see much of a need to go into too much detail like the other posts are to get my point across. Sorry not sorry

Thwackey may not be seen by people who didn't play ZU all gen long as an extremely influential ZU Pokemon. It may sport Knock Off, U-turn, Swords Dance and STAB priority, but it has a plethora of checks. However, it was moreso its ability Grassy Terrain in tandem with Grassy Seed using teammates such as Thievul, Galarian Rapidash, and Drifblim alongside other offensive Grassy Glide users that made Thwackey such a scary threat at team preview. ZU Council was forced to make a controversial quickban on Grassy Seed due to Thwackey's presence, and is one of the only handful of times ZU has banned an item. Thwackey's influence wasn't limited to just Grassy Terrain teams; the sheer power of a terrain-boosted STAB Wood Hammer often forced switch-ins that hated losing their item to Knock Off from Tangela to Altaria to Golbat to Ferroseed to Centiskorch and more. This opened windows of opportunity for Thwackey's teammates to eventually where down the opposition with entry hazards and offensive pressure. Thwackey's usage recently has dipped a bit, but is sure to make a lasting impression this upcoming ZUPL, standing the test of time all generation long, currently sitting pretty in the A tier.
 
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Jett

peepoSit
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Reserving Centiskorch

:ss/Centiskorch:
(50 Centiskorches would have been a great ZUPL team name)

What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?

During its peak, Centiskorch was the best breaker in the tier as very few Pokemon could reliable switch into it and force it out. As more Pokemon that outsped it and could threaten it out were banned offensive counterplay became less reliable while defensive counterplay was always limited. Teams became rather restricted as they would have to run one of the few counters available such as Qwilfish and Altaria or be built in a very offensive manner. Even in matchups where those answers were brought, it would at least be able to make progress on them with Knock Off. After the depature of Garbodor, Centiskorch was suspected and banned prior to ZUPL III as it was too restrictive for the tier to handle.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?

Centiskorch was mainly used as a wallbreaker but also acted as a specially defensive tank. High Base 115 Attack along with its signature move let it succeed in this role much better than standard setup wallbreakers that would have to use a turn to set up before reaching their maximum potential. Its naturally high special bulk actually allowed it to commonly trade well into or force out special attackers like Rotom and Alcremie. There were a ParaSpam teams as well which could potentially turn Centi into a cleaner as well but these were rare and centipede largely remained in the aforementioned roles.

What caused it to have a significant impact?

Fire Lash always lowering the foes defense and its incredible coverage of Power Whip, Leech Life, and Knock Off made it a nightmare to switch into. Fire Lash eased prediction massively and allowed Centiskorch to break past standard Fire-type answers in Jellicent and Rhydon, while Leech Life punished Miltank hard after a Fire Lash causing it to adapt. Realistically if you weren't running one of the handful of Pokemon that could switch into it safely, you would have to sack each time in order to threaten it out.

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?

- Qwilfish: Has Intimidate, resisted its Fire Lash, often ran Rocky Helmet, outsped and had recovery in Pain Split.

- Garbodor: Physically bulky, always ran Rocky Helmet, Pain Split recovery, Aftermath to trade in a worst case scenario.

- Altaria: Reliable recovery and very physically bulky; will realistically only ever lose if its chipped prior and had lost its Heavy-Duty Boots.

- Fire-types: Coalossal and Utility Rapidash faired well into Centiskorch although they didn't like losing their Heavy-Duty Boots.

- Rock Slide Miltank: No further comments shall be made.

- Revenge Killing: Centiskorch was a slow breaker and only a specially defensive tank so revenge killing it with physical attackers such as Sawk, Cinccino, and Silvally-Ground was one of the main ways to deal with it.
 
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Tuthur

[tytyʁ]
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:ss/gourgeist:

What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?

Gourgeist formes, mainly Large and Small, have been some of the most influencial Pokemon in the entierity of SS ZU from alpha. Their Grass-Ghost dual typing has always offered a great defensive utility, while offering an insane neutral coverage making it a premier offensive threat. Before Crown of Tundra, Gourgeist-Large remained one of the most versatile Pokémon available, meaning it could find its place in most teams while also forcing teams to run dedicated answers. Afterwards, Gourgeist-Small established itself as a very powerful wallbreaker in the power crept ZU; its dual STAB coverage was still as threatening, it had still enough power, but traded the bulk for a great Speed Tier allowing it to outspeed some of the strongest threats in the tier like Jynx, Silvally-formes, and Basculin. The bulkier sets have been mostly overshadowed by Tangela, however Gourgeist-Super keeps a niche thanks to its powerful STAB moves and can run the same bulky sets Gourgeist-L used to run.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?

Due to the lack of Fully Evolved Pokemon in early SS ZU, Gourgeist-L could run numerous of sets. Starting with the defensive set, it made use of Gourgeist-L advantageous defensive typing paired with its utility options like Will-O-Wisp, Leech Seed, and Synthesis letting it act as a good physical blanket check to the likes of Silvally formes, Galarian Linoone, and Machoke. It is also noticeable it was one of the few walls not relying on an Eviolite, meaning it was a premier Knock Off absorber. Choice Band was also one of the first set Gourgeist-Large ran with its access to one of the strongest move in the tier in Power Whip, a STAB priority, and options to cripple its checks with Trick and Explosion. Gourgeist-Normal also ran Choice sets while it was allowed in ZU.

With Isle of Armor, Gourgeist-Large got access to two new tools, starting with Poltergeist which considerably boosted the viability of all its sets. Choice Band had a better option than Explosion to significantly damage Grass-resists, while defensive sets started forgoing their item as they were the best answers to opposing Gourgeist. The second new toy was Grassy Glide which turned Gourgeist-Large into a monster in teams featuring it and Thwackey+Thievul. This strong priority made Gourgeist-L even harder to answer while it could chip Grass resists for Thwackey and Dark-resists like Togetic and Zweilous for Thievul.

Gourgeist-Large also started running other nicher sets like tank set with Synthesis and 3 Attacks, Weakness Policy + Flame Charge, and Nasty Plot. The first set let is a compromise between the defensive utility of the wall set and the raw power of Choice Band that proved to be a great midground. WP+FC was for some weeks one of the best cleaner in the tier, but fell out of favor when stronger Pokemon dropped from PU in August 2020. While NP took advantage of the likes of itemless Gourgeist, Vullaby, and Zweilous with its super effective Moonblast and Shadow Ball, even if the drop in power was noticeable.

Nowadays, Gourgeist-Large is unviable but most of these sets are still run on the other forms; Choice Band, Choice Scarf, and Nasty Plot are used by the Small form, while the XL form can run tanks and walls sets. While they are not as prominent as Gourgeist-L used to be, Gourgeist-S is one of the best Pokemon in current SS ZU, while Gourgeist-XL commonly sees uses in tournaments.

What caused it to have a significant impact?

I already adressed that above, but mostly an excellent typing and a lot of different options.

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?

Very bulky Grass-resists such as Gloom, Klang, and Togetic used to be the main defensive counterplay in pre-Crown of Tundra, and so has it been post DLC2 with Altaria, Tangela, and Articuno. Some Pokemon that resist both STAB moves have also been popular checks like Vullaby, Zweilous, itemless Grass-types (including Gourgeist itself, but also Shiinotic), Drampa, Skuntank, and Miltank.
 
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Tuthur

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:ss/klang::ss/klinklang:

What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?

Klang and Klinklang defined the Steel-type in ZU. In most metagames, a Steel-type is almost necessary due to the sheer defensive utility it brings and there are multiple options for this role. In current ZU and in pre-Crown of Tundura ZU, there were however no other option for a Steel-type. Cufant was once considered better than Klang due to its access to Stealth Rock and Whirlwind, however Klang's superior bulk and offensive presence thanks to Shift Gear let it completely overshadow it. Nowadays, Klinklang is the only viable Steel-type in ZU and even if Mawile and Pawniard are seeing small usages, they do not bring the defensive utility expected from a Steel-type.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?

Klang used to run several sets in the early months ranging from Substitute + Shift Gear to Choice Specs, however only one of them turned Klang into one of the most prominent threat in the tier; the RestTalk wall set. Using Gear Grind and an utility option between Toxic and Volt Switch, this set turned Klang into a premier defensive glue able to check prominent threats like Silvally formes, Eiscue, and locked attackers like Stonjourner and Mr Mime formes. Klang reached its viability peak after players realized they could replace the utility move with Shift Gear and turn it into an unkillable set up sweeper able to setup on would be checks like Palpitoad and Hippopotas. Some people even forgo the defensive utility of Sleep Talk to run Iron Defense and prevent physical attackers like Flame Orb Machoke and Choice Band Gourgeist-L from countering it. Klang was almost quickbanned before the arrival of the 2nd DLC. Klinklang, while not a defensive glue, is the closest current ZU has from a bulky Steel-type. It is mostly known for its dangerous Shift Gear sets using Substitute to take advantage of its resists and setup on walls like Articuno, Altaria, and Tangela. After a Shift Gear, Klinklang outspeeds every relevant Choice Scarf user and can tear through teams. Its last moveslot is either Toxic to cripple its counters like Rapidash and Stunfisk, or Wild Charge to remove bulky Water-types like Qwilfish and Poliwrath.

What caused it to have a significant impact?

The lack of competition as a Steel-type, the best defensive typing in the tier providing a lot of key resists, allowed both Klang and Klinklang to stand out in their respective metagames.

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?

Offensive Fighting-types like Machoke and Sawk can check them, but are quite ineffective after a Shift Gear. Bulky Up Fighting-types such as Grapploct and Gurdurr are much more effective, Fire-types like Rapidash and Lampent as well as specific Ground-types like Stunfisk formes, Mudbray, and Whiscash are the best defensive counters. Klinklang also struggles with Rocky Helmet walls, like Miltank, and Prankster Sableye, while Klang relied on its Eviolite to beat teams so using Knock Off or Trick would generally make the deal. Pyukumuku also stands out for being able to PP-stall both of them and not caring about neither Wild Charge thanks to Unaware nor Toxic thanks to Rest.
 
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Tuthur

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:ss/pyukumuku:

What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?

Pyukumuku never dominated the tier except in the few moments where stall was at the top. However, it is the only Pokemon to have been available and viable during the whole generation. It has defined stall since alpha, allowing the archetype to exist with its unrivaled ability to stop setup sweepers.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?

Pyukumuku has always been used as an Unaware wall able to stop setup sweepers as well as physical wallbreakers. While it has been running its classic Block sets since the beginning of the gen, in the first monthes it sometimes ran other moves like Taunt, Memento, Counter, and Mirror Coat when used in non stall teams.

What caused it to have a significant impact?

In the first month of ZU, the physical wall options were extremely limited and Pyukumuku offered a great stop to the likes of Wartortle, most Silvally formes, and Eiscue. Afterwards more options dropped to the tier and the biggest threats got banned, this led Pyukumuku to disappear from non stall teams. However no other Unaware user ever dropped, meaning Pyukumuku kept this niche during the whole generation and remained a stall staple able to stop threats like Klinklang and Silvally formes.

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?

Taunt users such as Morgrem, Skuntank, and Qwilfish, have always been able to completely shut down Pyukumuku. Offensive Grass- and Electric-types are also able to 2HKO Pyukumuku and force it out; Grass-types ranging from Ivysaur and Gourgeist-L to Tangela and Thwackey have always been very popular in the tier which meant most teams could answer Pyukumuku. However, Electric-types used to be much rarer with Silvally-Electric and Pincurchin not staying long in the tier, while Charjabug was too weak. That said, ever since Raichu, Pikachu, and Dedenne dropped, ZU has had prominent Electric-types able to force out Pyukumuku. Stored Power users have also been extremely common in ZU and able to break through Unaware, the most notable users have been Gothitelle, Swoobat, and Galarian Rapidash.
 
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Jett

peepoSit
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Reserving GroundVally

:ss/silvally-ground:

What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?

Silvally-Ground became the dominant Silvally after Dragon was banned and began forcing teams to run either a Grass-type or Uxie in order to combat its SD + Multi-Attack combo. Even so it could pivot on them making it an absolute pain point for any of the aforementioned checks except for Tangela and Eldegoss which had Regenerator (although at the time Eldegoss wasn't used as much so it was mostly just Tangela). In fact, Silvally-Ground was one of the strong physical attackers that initially pushed Tangela's viability all the way to the top. Given its a Silvally, it was also great on the defensive side being one of our best ever volt switch absorbers and naturally solid defenses made it difficult to revenge kill. Overall, its been one of the most well rounded Pokemon we've had that could fit onto pretty much any offense build and see great success despite how overprepped teams were especially once Centiskorch left.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?

Usually Silvally-Ground was a wallbreaker given that most Pokemon got crushed by a boosted Multi Attack and have a coverage move to cover at least some of the switch-ins to that. U-turn and its Ground-typing made it a great pivot and Volt Switch blocker. Occasionally, Flame Charge would be used so that it could perform more as a cleaner.

What caused it to have a significant impact?

Ground-type 120 base power move and solid stats overall made it too much for the metagame to handle and when it was around, it demanded very dedicated checks otherwise it would find ways to break past them. Ice Beam adaptation even made Tangela a questionable check unless it ran a little special defense investment.

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?

- Grass-types: Tangela mainly. Gourgeist-S outsped which made it a pretty solid choice during this metagame. Eldegoss wasn't see much but would have faired fine. Nicher defensive Grass-types like Gourgeist-XL and Shiinotic would work but would cause you lose out on momentum due to no Regenerator.

- Non-Grounded Pokemon: Altaria and Uxie mostly, although the former still had to worry about coverage but at least could Toxic stall a little.

- Faster Pokemon and priority: Basculin and Scarf Sawk could come in and revenge kill it since they were faster. Priority from Thwackey, Kangaskhan, and Gurdurr were also fine options to deal with Silvally-Ground although some would have needed some prior chip.
 
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:ss/sandslash-alola:

What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?
when alo-slash dropped in july 2021, it was immediately a great addition to the tier, being slotted among the A rank mons. its defensive typing and offensive capabilities essentially invalidated a lot of progress from specific mons in the tier, like eldegoss, tangela, and frosmoth. the former two could chip away at slash with leech seed or put it to sleep, and tang in particular could knock your lefties, but frosmoth had no outs and was completely blanked. when hail was unbanned, this mon joined the S ranks thanks to its offensive sets. however, its reign was short-lived, as nu banned slush rush and ou had previously banned snow cloak, meaning slash had no legal competitive abilities and could no longer be used thanks to tier transitivity, causing huge controversy.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?
it has a huge utility movepool with moves like rocks, spikes, spin, knock, toxic, and sometimes even protect. it could also run offensive sets, particularly when hail and slush rush were both still legal in zu, using swords dance, triple axel, icicle crash, ice shard, iron head, and earthquake; knock and spin could even help with role compression on these types of builds.

What caused it to have a significant impact?
spdef sets were the norm with alo-slash, despite being unspectacular with 75 hp and 65 spdef, but it boasted major key resistances and immunities to types like fairy, grass, ice, normal, poison, and psychic. but as mentioned above, it rose to S rank when slush rush + snow warning was legal, and was able to decimate teams left and right with its offensive sets. from OranBerryBlissey10's nomination post:
Probably a controversial take that I'm sure will be met with skepticism, but imo snowslash is the most threatening mon in the entire meta rn. Even support sets deserve A+ from my experience so it's not a one-dimensional mon at all (in case anyone is arguing this). Anyone who's played ZU recently should be familiar with hail by now. Whether it's a lone aurorus, a hail core, or full hail they're all pretty deadly in their own way. The reason I consider it a cut above the rest above the ice types is because of its unmatched sweeping potential. Abomasnow and Aurorus, while scary, can't run through entire teams. Similarly, Beartic gets outpaced by almost every scarfer and doesn't get nearly as many setup opprtunities due to a worse typing (if you decide to go the sd route ofc). It's extremely difficult to stop a +2 snowslash without one of wishi, gurdurr, poliwrath or scarf mane, and even then those can get overwhelmed (as has happened in plenty of games I've played). I've seen pilo and miltank mentioned as answers but they both lose (unless miltank is body press) since the optimal fourth move for the sd axel eq set is iron head. There's very little reason to run knock with Jellicent having left and iron head ensures you do not lose the aforementioned "checks". Snowslash also outspeeds scarf sawk (and even rotom if jolly) so that's not a viable solution either. +2 eq still does big damage vs answers especially with life orb while wide lens makes sure you practically never miss ur sub-ignoring 120 bp stab attack (yes helmet is still pain but detail). Its typing also gives it a good amount of setup opportunities while scaring out a significant number of mons. tldr snowslash is nutty.
How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?
strong fighting- and fire-type moves were key to breaking through defensive sets. think sawk cc, rapidash flare blitz, silvally flamethrower, ninetales flamethrower or fire blast, gurdurr drain and mach punch, poliwrath focus blast and vacuum wave. additionally, altaria was essentially forced to run flamethrower, and some thwackey sets even saw drain punch usage to be able to threaten slash. in hail, offensive sets were nearly unstoppable if given the opportunity. gurdurr mach punch, poliwrath vaccuum wave on specs and circle throw on defensive sets, body press miltank were options, but never guaranteed.
 
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Corthius

average Thwackey enthusiast
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:ss/Alcremie:


What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?

Fairy types have been incredible pokemon ever since their introduction in Gen6. Alcremie is one of the few Fairy types available in ZU and sets itself appart from pokemon like Mawile by having really good stats and a great movepool allowing it to posses a bunch of threatening sets. With a pure Fairy typing it stands in the may of many top threats such as Sawk, Thievul and Shiftry. Its special bulk also allows it to shrug off some hits and be a decent blanket answer to Rotom. Overall Alcremie established itself as a top tier pokemon ever since it dropped.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?

Alcremie's bread and butter is being a bulky setup sweeper that boosts itself with Calm Mind (and sometimes even as dual dance with the addition of Acid Armor). You'd pick Alcremie over other bulky wincons like Musharna and Spiritomb due to its superior stats, typing and even movepool. Another reason this set was and is so terrifying is Alcremie's movepool that makes it tough to predict from preview what combination of moves you are fighting; ranging from Acid Armor, Calm Mind, Rest + Stored Power (lately opted for Dazzling Gleam) over Calm Mind, Recover, Mystical Fire + Dazzling Gleam to Calm Mind, Recover, Aromatherapy + Dazzling Gleam, all of which serve to beat different types of Alcremie checks.

What caused it to have a significant impact?

ZU being the lowest usage based tier made the distribution of viable pokemon a lot different to other tiers with the powercreep being at its lowest. Alcremie functions as a clearic, special breaker and bulky wincondition on balanced structured teams. Fairy types being either completly unviable like Dedenne or Wigglytuff or used for different reasons like Mawile (and Carbink) allows Alcremie to shine with the unique traits I summed up in this post.

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?

Heavy usage of Steel-, Poison- and Fire-types, mainly Klinklang, Perrserker, Alolan Sandslash (RIP), Qwilfish, Silvally-Poison and Rapidash.
 
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:rs/ludicolo:
What effect did Ludicolo have on the DLC1 metagame?
Ludicolo dropped during the July 2020 tier shifts, riding a wave of Pokemon released in the February 2020 Pokemon HOME update. This was back when tier shifts happened every month, Sword and Shield had just had its Isle of Armor release, and SS ZU was 3 months old. Ludicolo primarily used its standard Rain Dance sweeper set of Rain Dance + 3 Attacks. Ludicolo in Rain was a very powerful wallbreaker, especially when 90 SpA good for a typical ZU Pokemon at the time.

In what main roles in DLC1 was Ludicolo used?
Ludicolo was primarily used as a Rain sweeper, using an offensive set of Rain Dance + STABs + Ice Beam, with a few variations depending on the metagame Ludicolo was used in. Knock Off was a niche move for offensive Ludicolo in order to hit Shedinja and remove Eviolites from Pokemon like Sliggoo to open up opportunities for itself and its teammates on Rain to sweep unhindered. Toxic was another alternative to catch Shedinja on the switch, put AV Ludicolo on a timer, and force defensive Sliggoo to Rest. However, both of these moves were less popular due to taking up a slot on Ludicolo's set, which was strapped between its 3 standard offensive moves and Rain Dance for being less dependent on teammates to set the Rain. Outside of Rain sweeping, Ludicolo was sometimes used as a specially defensive answer to itself, which was frankly not very good at making progress against Ludicolo outside of possibly defanging its Life Orb with a Knock Off and stalling Rain turns.

What caused it to have a significant impact in the DLC1 metagame?
The lack of powerful and decently fast (<95 base Speed, hello Silvally) Pokemon in ZU at the time meant that Ludicolo was very potent against offensive teams that could not waste Rain turns faster than they could sack mons against it. Rain teams had very privileged matchups in early ZU due to lacks of selection diversity and stability in the ZU metagame. Rain, and its face of Ludicolo here, thrives in metagames that are underexplored and lack the defensive tools that higher tiers hold onto. ZU was possibly one of the most chaotic metagames over the course of May, June, and early July; numerous bans from PU affected the ZU tierlist, monthly tier shifts would bring and take away pivotal Pokemon like Pincurchin, the Gen 8 starters had their Hidden Abilities released. in early June, DLC1 released in mid-June and all new NFE Pokemon were legal in ZU, and the Isle of Armor gave a number of Pokemon new moves that affected their viabilities. Ludicolo had the perfect moment to dominate an unstable and primarily offensive metagame.

How did you deal with this Pokemon in DLC1 ZU?
Ludicolo's Water/Grass STAB and Ice coverage meant that the few defensive measures to it included Shedinja, SpDef Ludicolo, or the unpopular defensive Sliggoo.
Scarfed Galarian Mr. Mime could threaten to OHKO with Freeze-Dry and Persian could disrupt Rain teams with Fake Out (in addition to Taunt), but offensive teams overwhelmingly had an upward battle against Rain. Most of the priority in the tier at the time - such as the aforementioned Fake Out Persian, Shadow Sneak Gourgeist-Large, and Bullet Punch Machoke was not able to OHKO Ludicolo, let alone KO it with generous chip from Stealth Rock and Life Orb. Farfetch'd was one option with First Impression, but like Scarf Mr. Mime-Galar, Rain teams had a lot of room to exploit and play around these weak threats with Rocks chip and secondary Rain sweepers like Beartic.
Ludicolo was banned by the ZU council on July 11 2020 with a 5:1 ban vote. For transparency, Ludicolo was not the only Pokemon voted on at the time, as it was accompanied by Gourgeist-Large, Mr. Mime, and Mr. Mime-Galar, none of which would be banned. Ludicolo's presence temporarily heightened the viability of Rain, but it would fall off after Ludicolo's ban. Beartic, a Rain sweeper, shifted to Hail with the support that Snow Warning Vulpix-Alola could provide it.

:dp/ludicolo:
Ludicolo was suspected by the ZU council again in early August of 2020, where it was kept in ZUBL after a revote. August 2020's tier shifts had brought a number of Pokemon such as Pikachu, Bellossom, and Fraxure, which had a few tools for helping teams check Ludicolo with FakeSpeed to stall rain turns or Adamant First Impression to guarantee an OHKO with rocks up. However, little else about defensively or offensively checking Ludicolo had changed, even with many new drops, and so it remained banned with a 4:2 ban vote.
:bw/ludicolo:
Ludicolo remained banned for the rest of DLC1 SS ZU, eventually joined by Musharna, Swoobat, Grapploct, and Lycanroc-Dusk by mid-October. There was not another retest of the kappa until after DLC2 dropped. Once the Crown Tundra was released, Smogon's current gen tiering system switched to semimonthly tier shifts in order to speed up the dropping of Pokemon in the DLC2 metagame. Ludicolo was voted on again in the beginning of November following tier shifts with the rest of the ZUBL list, as the tier shift was substantial enough to reconsider it. However, a continued lack of defensive answers and common offensive ones, new partners in Drednaw and Golduck, and a reevaluation of Drizzle's legality with Politoed in the tier were all factors which dissuaded the drop of Ludicolo back into ZU for early November 2020.
After a second November tier shift and two December tier shifts, ZU received a tier shift in January 2021 of 100 new Pokemon to the tier, leading to the unbanning of Ludicolo alongside all fellow ZUBL members at the time.

And so...
:xy/ludicolo:
What effect did Ludicolo have on the DLC2 metagame?
Ludicolo was no longer a focal point of the DLC2 metagame beginning in January 2021, as it was far overshadowed by an exhaustive list of future ZUBL/PU/PUBL/NU/NUBL Pokemon. Drizzle was not free at the time and has not been free due to PU having banned Drizzle in November of 2020. Ludicolo was forced to rely on manual Rain in a metagame now packing Abomasnow, Aurorus, and Vanilluxe. The focal points of Rain were also different, were strong and new Pokemon like Omastar, Clawitzer, and Kabutops would shift Ludicolo away from the spotlight of ZU Rain. Multiple quickbans, the Sneasel suspect, and the first full tier shift since the switch back to the 3-month tier shift tiering policy would pass before weather would be examined more meaningfully in the DLC2 ZU metagame. Towards the end of April 2021, Rain and Sun. were discussed by the ZU council. Damp Rock and Ludicolo were among the two options the ZU council planned to target to deal with Rain teams on the same slate as Sun teams, opting to suspect Damp Rock instead of Ludicolo in early May. In a 5:1 ban vote, Damp Rock was banned by the ZU council on May 16 2021.
:sm/ludicolo:
In what main roles in DLC2 was Ludicolo used?
Ludicolo leaned entirely into the role of Rain sweeper in DLC2, no longer given the room to entertain other sets. This time, Ludicolo was joined by Kabutops, Qwilfish, and more Rain sweepers, replacing Beartic as its usual sweeping partner. Liepard, Uxie, and Persian-Alola were new consistent Rain setters, differing from prior ones such as Wigglytuff, Meowstic-M, and Persian. Little about Ludicolo's actual set changed, but rather than having a few secretaries to answer its calls, Ludicolo on Rain now had a veritable pit crew to keep its racecar hyper offense at top speed. While Ludicolo did not change its set in response to the Damp Rock ban, as it was never a strict Rain setter, it did compromise Ludicolo's performance. While the bans of big Snow Warning breakers like Vanilluxe and Aurorus theoretically would help old Ludicolo, new Ludicolo is primarily an independent Rain Dance sweeper that aims to clean teams.
:ss/ludicolo:
What caused Ludicolo to have a significant impact in the DLC2 metagame?
With a huge amount of team support in a more settled yet still chaotic metagame, Ludicolo on Rain had a very easy time sweeping through teams in the very matchup-based early 2021 ZU meta. While tier shifts were no longer monthly, ZU was still full of many broken wallbreakers and yet more arguably broken pivots or methods to support them. Rotom, Uxie, Liepard, and Persian-Alola very obviously help or helped to support HO playstyles like Rain. Beneficiaries of Rain like Ludicolo really appreciate its best supporters happening to be key top pieces of the metagame. However, the May 2021 ban of Damp Rock in ZU slashed Rain's viability by cutting it off from the sweet nectar of ZU's most famous momentum machines. Losing 3 extra turns of Rain is huge for Rain's playstyle, as is the safety net of having dedicated setters like Liepard to bring in its sweepers just a bit more safely. Cutting Rain's viability cut Ludicolo's viability, and it currently sits at C on the ZU viability rankings.
How do you deal with Ludicolo in DLC2 ZU?
Checking an independent Rain attacker Ludicolo in the DLC2 landscape of ZU can work differently depending on whether or not the opponent opts to run Ludicolo as a breaker or a last sweeper. ZU is currently flush with priority options, so whether Ludicolo is breaking or sweeping, it is frequently chipped into range of being picked off by rogue Ice Shards, Grassy Glides, and Sucker Punches. Spikes is a big archetype in ZU at the moment, and Articuno and many other SpDef Pokemon like Clefairy and Miltank are common, splashable defensive options in the metagame. Ludicolo is extremely susceptible to being worn down through passive damage, and the current metagame of fat SpDef walls and offensive Spikes + priority is very difficult for it.
:ludicolo:
It's hard to tell Ludicolo's story without telling the story of Rain in ZU, although they aren't the same story. Rain has gone through a number of strong and weak periods in ZU, with and without Ludicolo. Perhaps that's a story for another time, though! Ludicolo has never been a face of ZU or an S tier mon, but it and Rain have stormed ZU multiple times, which can hardly be said for any DLC1 ZU Pokemon. Ludicolo's ability to not just threaten DLC1 ZU but DLC2 as well is a testament to the power of itself and Rain in lower tiers.
 
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:ss/glalie: :ss/froslass:
What effect did Glalie and Froslass have on the metagame?
:rs/glalie:
Glalie was one of the few Spikes setters available in Pre-DLC SS ZU, and this status continued into DLC1 ZU. Glalie was never a top tier, top used, or top rated Pokemon. However, prior to the release of the Crown Tundra, Glalie was an acceptable offensive Ice-type and Spiker in the ZU metagame. It was never terrible, but it was never exceptional. Glalie's Spikes were never the warping domineers of the hazard metagame in the same ways that Pincurchin, Hattrem, Vespiquen, and Defog Silvally were over the same periods it was in, but it was still flatly reliable and threatening.
:dp/glalie:
Glalie began to fall out of the ZU metagame once the Crown Tundra was released and multiple tier shifts occurred leading up to the great January 2021 tier shift. Crustle, Roselia, and the returning Pincurchin began to push Glalie out of the metagame alongside a good amount of power creep in November and December. Glalie's power, bulk, speed, and coverage all became worse relative to the metagame it was around, and it simply fell out.
:dp/froslass:
Froslass wasn't available in ZU until the January 2021 tier shift, rose back up to PU in July 2021, and recently returned to ZU in the April 2022 tier shift. Unlike Glalie, Froslass has been near or at the top of ZU during its stays, especially now. Froslass' dual STAB coverage, set flexibility, and access to Spikes and tons of other utility moves have led to it installing itself over much of the current ZU metagame.

In what main roles were Glalie and Froslass used?
:bw/glalie:
Setting Spikes was Glalie's primary draw in Pre DLC and DLC1 ZU. Glalie had a good matchup against popular Defog options like Togetic or Defog Silvallies (which had no recourse against Spikes chip), and its Spikes damage could stick against the many Eviolite-holding Pokemon of the metagame. Glalie could run an odd offensive set with Choice Band and Icicle Crash, Earthquake, Ice Shard, and Switcheroo. Glalie's primary role as Spiker was unique, and its offensive sets were overshadowed by Silvally-Ice and Beartic when they were properly supported.
:bw/froslass:
Froslass is an offensive Spiker or simply an offensive Pokemon in the current DLC2 ZU metagame. The draw of Froslass as a ZU Spiker is less about how its Ghost typing blocks Rapid Spin such as in old metagames, as most Rapid Spin users in ZU like Coalossal and Morpeko have advantaged matchups against Froslass. Instead, Froslass' Spikes are very useful at forcing damage on defensive cores and threatening popular Defoggers like Altaria, Rotom, and Defog Silvally forms. Cores incorporating popular Eviolite walls like Rhydon and Tangela are still threatened by Froslass even when it isn't on the field thanks to Spikes. Froslass' Choice Band set has a very powerful STAB combo, compensating for its subpar 80 Attack compared to other physical attackers in ZU. Ice Shard and a high speed tier mean that Froslass' fast Ice moves cannot be ignored even by scarfers, and the opponent is frequently at risk to being picked off or revenge killed by Froslass. Froslass' lead set is frequently its most popular on ladder. Focus Sash, Cursed Body, Destiny Bond, Taunt, and a utility Ice move of your choice make Froslass the most streamlined lead Pokemon available in ZU. Ladder teams often rely on hyper offense, and Froslass gives them the opportunities they need with Spikes chip and softened opposing leads to get off on the right foot.

What caused Glalie and Froslass to have a significant impact?
:bw/glalie:
Glalie's nearly exclusive access to Spikes, neutral stat spread, and just-enough utility and coverage were key to its place in the middle of the pack of the ZU metagame before the Crown Tundra. Glalie preyed on the metagame's overall lower power level to great effect, and its Spikes could be helpful to specific offenses which wanted to force extra damage on defensive teams stacking Eviolite Pokemon. Wartortle, Vespiquen, and Togetic were some of the more popular hazard removers in ZU, and Glalie threatened them with Freeze-Dry. Silvally-Ice's resistance to Glalie's Ice STAB was frustrated by Icevally's complete vulnerability to hazard chip, making it an unreliable primary Defogger. Ice-resists like Carkol, Klang, and Cufant were threatened by Earthquake on physically offensive sets.
:bw/froslass:
Froslass' fast Spikes and high level of flexibility for its already potent dual-STAB combo have earned it a top seat at the mid 2022 SS ZU table. Spikes are already very powerful in the ZU metagame, and Froslass is a very scary revenge killer given its speed and access to priority. Froslass' Fighting immunity is great for taking advantage of choice-locked Sawk, and Froslass' Ice-resistance is great for staving off jealous Ice Shards and envious Freeze-Drys from fellow Ice-types Articuno and Piloswine, giving Froslass openings or breathing room to break or clean.

How did you deal with Glalie and how do you deal with Froslass in ZU?
:glalie:
Glalie rarely 6-0'd a game or left an opponent without an out against it. Physically offensive Glalie struggled with bulky Water types like Wartortle, Pyukumuku, and Slowpoke, although Wartortle did not like taking a Super Fang, and none of them would enjoy being Switcheroo'd a Choice Band. Carkol was an effective spinner against Freeze-Dry Glalie, something Wartortle wasn't as able to boast, but it had to be wary of Earthquake from physical variants. PhysDef Hattrem had the Eviolite boosted bulk to take hits from Glalie and deter Spikes from being set up, but lacked reliable recovery and was also chunked by Super Fang. Mr. Mime-Galar could take a resisted hit while coming in and threaten Glalie with Focus Blast, but it had to be careful of its HP with hazards up if it wasn't running Heavy-Duty Boots. Glalie's mediocre base 80 speed tier in a metagame where 95 was a critical benchmark thanks to the presence of Silvally was compromising, and most teams could threaten to deal significant damage to it with a revenge killer.
:froslass:
Froslass can be difficult to handle in the ZU metagame without properly predicting its set, and even with the proper prediction, Froslass' sets can be tough to check. Bulky Alolan Persian and Thick Fat Miltank are competent answers to the Band set. However, Spikes sets can be more difficult to deter without relying on multiple checks like Coalossal, Articuno, Rapidash, and Qwilfish. Scarfers like Rotom and Sawk can cleanly revenge kill Froslass. The current ZU metagame is very threatened by Froslass, but Froslass' middling power combined with the drawbacks to holding a power-boosting item help to hold it back from completely dominating the ZU metagame. Spikes is a powerful playstyle, but the presence and popularity of Articuno and Rotom prevent Froslass' Spikes from completely warping the metagame.
 
:ss/persian: :ss/persian-alola:
What effect did Persian have on the metagame?
:rb/persian:
Persian dropped from PU to ZU in the June 2020 tier shift and quickly established itself as the face of offense in the tier. Persian's speed tier, access to Knock Off and U-Turn, and STAB Fake Out defined the pre-DLC metagame and "dropped" to "only kind of great" in terms of contributing to the offensive and momentum-based plastyles by the time the Crown Tundra released.

Alolan Persian dropped from PU to ZU in the January 2021 tier shift and quickly established itself as the face of momentum in the tier. Persian-Alola's speed tier, access to STAB Knock Off and Foul Play, access to not just U-Turn but Parting Shot, Dark typing, and amazing defensive ability in Fur Coat continues to define the DLC2 ZU metagame.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?
:gs/persian:
Persian was nearly mandatory on many standard offenses in the June 2020 and July 2020 metagames. Persian was primarily a fast offensive pivot and disruptor that used its strong and neutral Normal STAB to blanket check a variety of offensive threats and teamstyles at the time. Persian gave offensive teams a guaranteed way to play around most of the gimmicks that hyper offense teams employ, such as weather, Stick Webs, Trick Room, and dual screens, making it a Pokemon that is extremely cheese-proof (call it a Lactase Pokemon?). With continued competition from Linoone-Galar and new competition from offensive pivots like Pikachu as the DLC1 metagame progressed, Persian adapted to become more of a consistent multitool to offensive teams that needed a member that could take a hit from the more defensive teams it was supposed to disrupt. Persian isn't exactly bulky, but the glasslike fragility of Pikachu and Galarian Linoone made them comparably liable in matchups where you needed your disruptor in and offensive without losing its Light Ball, or you need to stay up on health instead of relying on Toxic status for your speed tier.
:rs/persian:
Alolan Persian was nearly mandatory on many standard bulky teams in the early Crown Tundra metagame. Persian is primarily a fast support pivot and disruptor that uses its strong and neutral Dark STAB to blanket check a variety of offensive threats and teamstyles. Persian-Alola gives bulkier teams much more breathing room against current special offenses featuring Rotom and Jynx given its Dark typing, against physical offenses featuring Silvally-Poison and Klinklang, and against mixed offenses featuring Froslass and Gourgeist-Small given both. Liepard is a competitive fast Dark type (funnily enough also sharing the feline theme), but despite 106 Speed not being meager and Liepard possessing much more power than Alolan Persian, Liepard frequently sits a subrank or two below Persian-Alola due to lacking the same consistency that the speed and bulk of Alolan Persian brings. Other offensive pivots like Thwackey, Froslass, and Rotom may boast priority, unique typings, and utility that Alolan Persian cannot, but Persian-A's overall kit is so valuable that, like any cat, it squeezes its way into most anything.

What caused it to have a significant impact?
:dp/persian:
It is difficult to explain how strapped good speed control was for most of Pre-DLC and DLC1 ZU. Persian's 115 Speed was vital in a metagame that emerged out of Silvally's base 95 speed at a critical moment of development. Fake Out was vital for holding back traditional lower tier inception HO strats like weather, Trick Room, and Screens, none of which had been as neutered as they are now back then. Knock Off was more powerful in ZU than any other tier at the time due to how many defensive Pokemon relied on Eviolite for their bulk. U-Turn is still one of the easiest moves to spam, and it was sure convenient that the unparalleled fastest Pokemon in the metagame had it. Persian was so relatively fast and its access to Fake Out was so well-suited that running Adamant was standard. Although an influx of new Pokemon over the course of DLC1 would give Persian a lot of competition for fast and strong pivots, it dug so much of the ground work for what teams would later expect the expanding gallery of offensive pivots. Linoone-Galar, Pikachu, Silvally-Ice, and Raichu would all be compared to the standard Persian had initially set for how much an offensive Pokemon can and should provide to a team.
:bw/persian:
It is 2022: 95 is still a very important benchmark for speed in ZU, Silvally forms are still potent, and both everything and nothing have changed. Persian-Alola's mix of speed, bulk, and utility give any team the backbone it wants, but on a Pokemon that doesn't move last all of the time. Speed is what earns Persian-Alola's place on both offensive and defensive teams that are looking for a pivot. The kitty's Darktyping is also very helpful in a tier that is and has been flush with powerful Psychic and Ghost types. Knocking off Eviolites from Rhydon and Tangela is very helpful, and Persian-A getting a STAB boost on this one move is a great help too. Persian-A remains the perfect disruptive multitool its predecessor was. Few Pokemon don't appreciate the opponent's Pokemon losing the items that they wanted on their Pokemon, even if it competes with wanting to run Poltergeist Ghosts on your team.

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?
:persian:
Persian was a great offensive Pokemon, but it had no resistances with one rarely helpful immunity. Persian was vulnerable to chip damage across longer games, and its lacking bulk meant that little was required after all some chip to remove it from the battle. Stonjourner, Gourgeist-Large, Klang, and Machoke could all stomach hits from Persian and retaliate or use it as fodder, but they infrequently liked taking Knock Off, and were vulnerable to being U-Turned on. Rocky Helmet chip from Pokemon that had the privilege of running it, such as Corsola, was an option, but this was rare. Carkol could frustrate Persian with its contact effects and Normal-resistance, but Carkol did not have any way to restore its HP and strongly disliked losing its Eviolite. Grassy Terrain teams were an issue for Persian, as its Fake Out was unhelpful against Grassy Glide abusers like Trevenant and Gourgeist-Large.
:persian-alola:
Persian-Alola is a great bulky Pokemon, but the prevalence of Sawk, Alcremie, Clefairy, Gurdurr, and a good variety of other Fighting types makes Persian-Alola's job of being a defensive pivot more difficult. Persian-Alola frequently threatens to make progress against the opponent even in disadvantageous scenarios, such as Knocking Clefairy or using Parting Shot on an incoming Silvally-Fighting. Though Persian-A can run Heavy-Duty Boots or Leftovers, it can be made vulnerable to chip from Rocky Helmet on Qwilfish, or take a Knock and suddenly be vulnerable to Clefairy's rocks. Persian-Alola can make games messy, but it is not impervious to the same pitfalls of losing its item and being drawn into range of finally being picked off by something like Thwackey's Grassy Glide. Many of the Pokemon it could otherwise check with its Dark typing, like Jynx, Rotom, Froslass, and Uxie, carry secondary STABs or coverage that circumvent its mono-Dark typing and Fur Coat ability. However, Persian-Alola is still splashable on most standard team structures relying on it for a defensive backbone.
 
:ss/ivysaur:
What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?
Ivysaur has been present in ZU since its inception, has never left the tier, and has seen viability in all eras of it, always in great standing when it is truly recognized. Ivysaur was more consistent in its Pre-DLC and DLC1 "lifestyle", and has been more of a strict accompaniment to Sun teams in the current metagame. In its initial iteration, Ivysaur would define balanced and bulkier playstyles, whereas in the current state of ZU it is featured entirely on Sun sweeper teams that spam Chlorophyll sweepers such as it, Shiftry, and Leafeon.
In what main roles was Pokemon used?
:rb/ivysaur:
Prior to the Crown Tundra release thoroughly affecting the ZU metagame in late December of 2021, Ivysaur was either be a great bulky pivot or a Sun sweeper. Ivysaur's defensive typing offered it a great variety of resistances to common offensive types in early ZU like Electric, Water, and Grass, giving it a great matchup against offensive teams thanks to Synthesis, Leech Seed, Sleep Powder, Knock Off, and a perfectly accurate Toxic to disrupt offenses. All of this utility and a Toxic immunity gave Ivysaur a great matchup versus the many fat Eviolite teams of the era as well. Raichu, Pincurchin, Pikachu, Thwackey, and Tangela were just some of the Pokemon that Ivysaur would help to keep in check for balanced teams.
:gs/ivysaur:
In DLC2, Ivysaur is now exclusively a sun sweeper. Although Ivysaur could still give Tangela a good run 1v1, Ivysaur no longer has the same prey of teams which stack Eviolites in the builder. Ivysaur's lower relative bulk is also compromising in a metagame that went from Klang to Klinklang in one year. A Toxic immunity is helpful to limited turn nature of Sun teams, meaning their sweepers cannot be put on the opponent's timer instead.
What caused it to have a significant impact?
:rs/ivysaur:
Prior to the release of the Crown Tundra, Ivysaur's mix of defensive qualities was nearly unparalleled, even by Gourgeist-Large. Just having a Pokemon immune to Toxic and able to click Knock Off was very for teams, both when and when'n't (new word I am making up) Mareanie was present in the metagame. This compression could allow Ivysaur's more defensive teammates some breathing room to hold onto their Eviolites for dealing with threats like Raboot. Ivysaur could give offensive members like Pikachu an opening to come in on an aggressive double versus Klang, or setup sweepers like NP Raichu the opening they need with a Sleep Powder. Possibly one of the most matured aspects of the DLC1 metagame was the emergent relationship between Ivysaur, Vespiquen, and Hattrem in keeping Toxic Spikes on or off of the field. Ivysaur was a Pokemon with a near universally good matchup versus most team styles, and this continued throughout much of the DLC1 metagame.
:dp/ivysaur:
Ivysaur was already struggling to keep up with the metagame expansions brought by the November 2020 and December 2020 tier shifts, but January 2021's tier shift completely knocked Ivysaur out of the metagame for a bit. Ivysaur was reestablished on Sun teams due to renewed interest in the April 2021 and May 2021 metagames, even being part of an evaluation of Sun, though not the focal point. Instead, Shiftry was examined and not banned by the ZU council, nor has the Heat Rock been evaluated in the time since then. Ivysaur is a component of the modern ZU Sun formula with Growth, Solar Beam, Sludge Bomb, and Weather Ball. Thanks to support from Pokemon like Uxie, Froslass, and Liepard, Ivysaur can have a large amount of Sun turns and plenty of hazard chip to mow through weakened teams that have had to deal with fellow Sun attackers Shiftry and Leafeon.

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?
:bw/ivysaur:
One of the issues with using Ivysaur as a bulky pivot in 2020 ZU was its tendency to wilt over longer battles if it wasn't blown back by a strong wallbreaker. Ivysaur had great bulk with Eviolite and a very convenient typing, but the same traits that draw throwing it into the field to sponge hits could lead to Scald burns, losing its Eviolite to Knock Off, and Stealth Rock or Spikes chip adding up to threaten its low 8 PP on Synthesis. Ivysaur was also a stopgap to Electric types like Pikachu and Raichu without blocking Volt Switch, often leading to it being taken advantage of by letting a counter like Silvally-Ice in to set up.
:ivysaur:
Presently, Sun teams including Ivysaur can struggle to break through Rapidash and Ninetales, while still presenting the same issues that many weather HOs bring in vulnerability to fast choice scarfers and priority. While Ivysaur is potent in Sun, it can struggle against SpDef Pokemon like Articuno, Cryogonal, and Klinklang if it cannot fire off +2 Weather Balls.
 

Tuthur

[tytyʁ]
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:ss/qwilfish:

What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?

Since January 2021 and the definitive Crown of Tundra metagame, Qwilfish has been a defensive staple in bulky offense and the premier Spikes setter. It has been used as an overall blanket physical check for the likes of Sawk, Centiskorch, Alolan Sandslash, and Silvally formes.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?

The bulky Spikes set with different EV spread depening on the metagame has been the most common. Being able to make progress with hazards while messing up with the opponent with Taunt, Thunder Wave, and Pain Split. However, the Swords Dance is amazing in the current metagame, since people realized that without Jellicent nothing but Pyukumuku and Shedinja is a solid defensive check. The Swords Dance also used to be incredible before Damp Rock's ban and is one of the reason why Rain was so overpowered.

What caused it to have a significant impact?

Spikes are an amazing move with limited distribution. Qwilfish has just been an incredible setter of them due to its amazing movepool, ability, and typing that lets it perform this role perfectly and check common threats.

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?

Defog users with a good Qwilfish matchup like Articuno, Lurantis, and Rotom formes are quite good into the Spikes set. While faster Water-resists like Jynx and Gourgeist-S are the best checks to the Swords Dance set.
 
:ss/pincurchin:
What effect did Pincurchin have on the metagame?
Pincurchin first dropped to ZU in June of 2020, the first tier shift of for ZU exiting Beta. Pincurchin was already seen as a borderline broken Pokemon when it dropped, as the ZU tier had already banned Silvally-Electric, which was an Electric type with similarly excellent coverage and utility. Thwackey gaining access to Grassy Surge in early June was a challenge to Pincurchin's Electric terrain, whereas Pincurchin countered with its new Rising Voltage move gained in the Isle of Armor. In fact, the Isle of Armor unleashed a slew of Pokemon into the ZU metagame, some of which would end up on a suspect slate with it in late June. Only Thwackey was banned, and Pincurchin remained free with the anticipation that it would likely rise in the approaching tier shift. The June 2020 metagame's instability is much more attributable to the IRL Pokemon releases and tiering decisions of higher tiers at the time, but Pincurchin was a tormentor of this metagame.
:thwackey: :thievul: :tangela: :kadabra:
Pincurchin did rise from ZU in the July 2020 tier shift, straight up to RU. Although Pincurchin fell out of usage in RU in the September 2020 tier shifts, it was declared as a "drastic tier shift" because of the Isle of Armor release in this forum post, and was dropped to NU instead of ZU. Pincurchin fell to PU in the October 2020 tier shift, and the Crown Tundra aka DLC2 released later that month, introducing a few NFEs into ZU. Pincurchin would not fall from PU in the first November 2020 tier shift, but it did fall in the second!
:raichu-alola: :swoobat: :drifblim:
Pincurchin came to a very different landscape in ZU in mid November of 2020, as over 30 new Pokemon dropped to ZU with it, many had dropped in the past shift, and more were to drop in the next semimonthly shifts until a final one in January 2021 to drop 100 new Pokemon into ZU. Pincurchin had a controversial presence in ZU during this time period, sponsoring Electric Terrain teams and pushing the envelope on a HO-heavy, matchup-fishy metagame. Adding to the difficulty of navigating this metagame was the multitude of perspectives on how to deal with the metagame, many of which were valid approaches despite not being the same.
:rapidash-galar: :musharna: :lilligant:
Pincurchin actually rose to PU in January 2021, missing out on the establishment of the full Crown Tundra metagame. However, it quickdropped from PU into ZU in March 2021. By the time it came back though, an enormous amount of power creep had occurred, and Pincurchin and Electric Terrain were more on the back foot compared to the rest of the metagame. Pincurchin even had a small job as a Magneton check for a bit in April 2021 before Magneton's quickban. April and May of 2021 were months were Hyper Offensive playstyles such as Rain and Sun received much more scrutiny than in past ban slates and discussions. Grassy Terrain would gets its own evaluation by July 2021, and this playstyle largely overshadowed Electric Terrain due to the greater popularity, splashabilty, and power of Thwackey and other Grassy Terrain abusers. Even after the nerfing of Grassy Terrain teams with the ban of Grassy Seed, Electric Terrain never managed to truly dominate or influence the metagame towards HO in the way it had before January 2021.
:magneton: :centiskorch: :shiftry: :kabutops: :rotom-frost:
In what main roles was Pincurchin used?
Pincurchin was used most popularly as a setter for Electric Terrain teams. Pincurchin packed Spikes, strong Electric STAB, Recover, and colorful mixed coverage moves to support its teammates. Pincurchin has also seen use as a defensive Pokemon with Lightning Rod, a Choice Specs attacker to capitalize on Electric Surge + Rising Voltage, and an offensive pick for Trick Room teams thanks to its good mixed offenses, coverage, and even access to Sucker Punch.
:manectric: :accelgor: :carracosta: :malamar:
What caused Pincurchin to have a significant impact?
Pincurchin's unique ability, Electric Surge, was a huge driver of its unhealthiness and power at most points in the ZU metagame where it was present. In early ZU, Electric Surge's Electric Terrain prevented Rest from being used, which was frequently the only recovery move of many Eviolite Pokemon in the metagame. Spikes and Electric STAB, amplified by Pincurchin's Electric Terrain at times, was oppressive against Rapid Spin Wartortle and the Flying type Defoggers of the metagame. In the "prologue" to DLC2's big January 2021 drop during the NovB - DecB period of 2020, Pincurchin was less independently broken compared to its prior stay in ZU. However, Pincurchin still had a controversial effect in the metagame in its Electric Terrain HO teams. The culpability in the brokenness of Electric Terrain teams at the time was difficult to attribute to the abusers of Terrain (such as Lilligant and Musharna), the duration of turns from Electric Terrain with the Terrain Extender, the Electric Seed providing a Defense boost in the terrain, Electric Surge as an ability for automatically setting up the terrain, or Pincurchin itself. After the full extent of the DLC2 drops in January 2021, Pincurchin faded more into the background of niche HO styles as the metagame was awash in much more powerful Pokemon and more reliable HO playstyles. As the metagame settled thanks to a number of bans over the course of 2021, Pincurchin found a solid niche in ZU again with its intact Electric Terrain playstyle compared to the nerfs of Rain and Grassy Terrain.
:machoke: :wartortle: :togetic: :ivysaur: :drednaw: :liepard: :uxie:
How do/did you deal with Pincurchin in ZU?
Pincurchin is a victim of Thwackey's popularity in ZU, as the Electric Terrain archetype is threatened by Thwackey's opposing Grassy Surge ability, Grassy Glide priority, and proper typing for taking Pincurchin's STAB and primary anti-Ground coverage in Scald. However, Thwackey does not enjoy getting burned by Scad, and it can be worn down if the chip from Spikes, Wood Hammer, and Pincurchin's attacks add up faster than Grassy Terrain can alleviate it. Pincurchin is threatened by Defog, as it removes both Electric Terrain and Spikes. Altaria avoids taking super effective damage from Pincurchin's Electric STAB as a part Dragon type, its Flying typing means that Rising Voltage actually is not boosted by Electric Terrain, and status from Pincurchin's moves can be fixed by Natural Cure. Defog Rotom is not threatened by anything other than a surprise gigabrain Sucker Punch, and it can parasitize Pincurchin and Pincurchin's teammates with Pain Split to alleviate any chip it takes. However, Pincurchin's STAB and Spikes can threaten popular Defoggers and hazard removers like Defog Silvallies and Articuno, so teams relying on them should play carefully and ideally pair with Ground types like Rhydon, Stunfisk, and Alolan Dugtrio to help with the pivoting effort.
:pincurchin:
 

Corthius

average Thwackey enthusiast
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Enter your nominee's sprite here.
:ss/Kangaskhan:


What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?

During its prime, Kangaskhan was one, if not the best abuser of the ever present hazards that terrorized ZU due to the lack of good removal options. Double priority and a spamable Scrappy Double-Edge made Kangaskhan a fearsome breaker and lategame cleaner. Sawk even ran Inner Focus to avoid Intimidate from Qwilfish (btw Scrappy from Kangaskhan does the same), but also to not get flinched by Kangaskhan. It was pretty much a staple and almost a must-pick if you were to use hazard stacking simply because of how good it was. Now due to Kangaskhan being such an omnipresent physical wallbreaker it could turn the tables on would-be counters like Tangela by running an Early Bird Rest Whirlpool + Toxic set, trapping said walls and defeating them reliably, opening up a teampartner in the back.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?

Kangaskhan would be best to be used on hazard stacking teams that can wear down pokemon quickly and was a prefered option due to its incredible matchup against opposing offense and bulky cores alike. Scrappy obviously played a huge role on why Kangaskhan was so good as it allowed it to ignore the annoying Ghost types that would otherwise be immune to its STAB attacks, letting it freely spam Silk Scarf boosted Double-Edge. Its good speed tier also made it a good pick as it would outspeed other breaker like Choice Band Sawk and Skuntank, depending on the nature used.

What caused it to have a significant impact?

Kangaskhan thrived from the meta not having enough reliable hazard removing options which increased its damage output. Double-Edge was no joke unless your name is Rhydon and or Tangela and usually threatened basically the whole opposing team. Simply being faster also didn't mean you were save at all. Fake Out + Sucker Punch was a deadly combination and Kangaskhan, despite the recoil from Double-Edge, was usually bulky enough to withstand a hit and retaliate with a strong hit - especially if you ran Heavy-Duty Boots on it to negate the chip damage from opposing hazards.

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?

Answers to Kangaskhan are pretty much fat physical walls that don't mind Double-Edge either through sheer bulk or by resisting it. Common answers are Rhydon, Tangela, Poliwrath and Gurdurr.

What are the best checks/counters to this Pokemon? How does the metagame adapt to this Pokemon?
 
Nominating Jynx

:ss/jynx:

What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?

Once deemed mediocre at best, being placed at a measly C-tier back when several Pokemon that checked it roamed the tier such as Sneasel, Centiskorch, and Magmortar. However, steadily but surely over time, its potency and uniqueness as a wallbreaker and set-up sweeper made it rise to become a threat that must be accounted for. Jynx has a combination of a solid Speed tier (outspeeding a lot of other non-Scarf offensive threats like Sawk and Rotom) and great offensive movepool, and most notably is one of the few notable sleep inducers thanks to its access to Lovely Kiss. (the only other offensive Pokemon to commonly run sleeping moves on the VR are the much lower ranked Lilligant and Butterfree who are either slower or have much worse offensive coverage) The presence of Jynx makes it not uncommon for people to pack Pokemon such as Articuno and Klinklang for it, though these aren't 100% foolproof checks.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?

Jynx has two main sets, one utilizing Choice items (more commonly Specs in recent months), and one with a combination of Lovely Kiss and Heavy Duty Boots. Jynx's dual STAB combined with Focus Blast have little switch-ins, and these switch-ins can be crippled by either Trick or Lovely Kiss. Heavy Duty Boots sets can run Nasty Plot to have Jynx barrel through its more sturdy checks like Articuno.

What caused it to have a significant impact?

Jynx mainly benefits from a lack of overly sturdy Ice resists and having good stats for its role. The ever-lasting threat of its STABs, in combination with coverage in Focus Blast and options like Lovely Kiss, make Jynx a tricky albeit not impossible Pokemon to play around.

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?

The one major weakness of Jynx is its fragility. Priority users such as Kangaskhan, Thwackey, and Shiftry can easily pick off at it, and though they're very much crippled by Trick or Lovely Kiss, Pokemon such as Articuno and Uxie can easily tank its hits. Pokemon like Rapidash easily outspeed and KO it, while Pokemon like Klinklang can switch in on anything that isn't Focus Blast and do the same thing.

(I primarily nominated Jynx because its one of the biggest zero to hero cases the tier has ever had alongside the dearly missed Eldegoss)
 

Corthius

average Thwackey enthusiast
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Enter your nominee's sprite here.
:ss/Rhydon:


What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?

Despite being the anchor point of many deez nuts jokes, Rhydon's presence in the tier was no joke by any means. Rhydon is (imo) the best offensive Stealth Rock setter available. STAB EdgeQuake is threatening as always and backed up by 130 Atk makes it a fearsome wallbreaker, especially with Swords Dance. Besides its incredible offensive presence, Rhydon also sports a solid defensive typing and terrific physical bulk, allowing it to check notable physical threats such as Kangaskhan, Rapidash (outside of sun) and Lycanroc (&StonjournerI), while also serving as a decent offensive check vs bulky set up sweeper like Alcremie, Musharna and Spiritomb when using Swords Dance.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?

Rhydon is a Stealth Rock setter that highly threatens common hazard remover like Altaria, Articuno and Morpeko, making it one of the best for the role of a bulky offense rocker. Its STAB combination (and therefor its offensive and defensive presence) and high pressure in the early/mid game made it almost uncontested for this role. You'd see a set of double dance occasionally on Hyper Offense or a lure set with Swords Dance, Life Orb and Megahorn that gets rid of Tangela.

What caused it to have a significant impact?

Besides its low speed and special defense, Rhydon's stats are pretty much perfect at what it is supposed to do; set up Stealth Rock and pressure the opponent to the point of keeping them up. Its STABs play a big role in its offensive presence as well. It fits really well on bulky offense and more offensive balance teams that need a sturdy physical answer to the aforementioned pokemon. Some notable downside on Rhydon is its poor matchup against Rotom, one of the main reasons to run a Volt Switch immunity in the first place. Because of that it highly appreciated being paired with something that soft checked that as well.

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?

Whenever I am told that my team is weak to Rhydon I try to add one of the few answers to it like Tangela, Poliwrath and Lurantis. Sometimes I deal with it by simply trying to overload it with offensive pressure as it has to hold Eviolite making it vulnerable to chip damage over the course of a game.
 
:ss/hattrem:
What effect did Hattrem have on the metagame?
:cufant: :trubbish: :hatenna: :natu: :bronzor: :onix: :carkol:
Hattrem was and is the premiere Magic Bounce Pokemon of SS ZU. Hattrem did not debut in ZU, even with less intense power levels of the the lower tiers before the release of DLC1 or DLC2. Hattrem was PU during its Alpha and Beta stages, rose to NU in May 2020, dropped back into PU in July 2020, and dropped to ZU for the first time the September 2020 tier shifts.
Hattrem embedded itself in the upper crust of the ZU metagame during the period between when it dropped in September 2020, contorting the unique hazard metagame of the period around itself and its ability. The DLC1 ZU metagame saw a period of greater centralization and stability with Hattrem in the metagame. Hattrem drove down and out the passive and weaker hazard setters from older metagames of ZU, such as Cufant, Trubbish, and Palpitoad (sorry czim).
However, the increasing power level of the ZU metagame between the release of DLC2 and January 2021 (when the largest number of the drops to ZU for DLC2 occurred) threatened Hattrem's status as a top-tier ZU Pokemon. A huge influx of good Dark types, Knock Off users, more aggressive wallbreakers, and stronger hazard setters. Pointing to a specific Pokemon that drove Hattrem out of the metagame isn't really possible. Persian-Alola, Froslass, and Morpeko are definitely inconvenient for Hattrem to deal with in the metagame, but Hattrem's issues began when the passive hazard setters it was tasked with checking went from Mudbray and Hippopotas to Qwilfish and Rhydon.
:persian-alola: :froslass: :skuntank:
In what main roles was Hattrem used?
:silvally:
Hattrem was and is primarily used as a bulky pivot and disruptor, switching in on assumed safe and passive Pokemon to deflect hazards/status in a defensive momentum grab. Hattrem's utility does not start and end at Magic Bounce, as Nuzzle can support bulkier teams which may not possess the necessary speed for an immediate sweep, and Healing Wish is beneficial on these same teams for bringing back a member which may have taken too much damage or an untimely status. Hattrem works best when it is supporting its team, and Hattrem's offerings can be adjusted to meet its team needs within reason. Silvally-* has an almost perfect emergent relationship with Hattrem, no matter which era of ZU you are in. Silvally-* is incapable of using items to adjust its speed or vulnerability to hazards, is one of the only legitimate "Knock Off switch-ins" in SS, and its kit includes pivot moves like U-Turn and Parting Shot as well as utility like Defog and Toxic for team support. Hattrem can block hazards from going up, but it can't remove ones that are already up, making Silvally-* a very fit partner as a potential secondary Defogger which can remove hazards that slip through. In particular, Silvally-Poison can for absorb the T-Spikes that Hattrem is vulnerable to, Silvally-Dark resists Hattrem's Dark and Ghost weaknesses while switching in more safely on Knock Off, and Silvally-Fighting takes Knock similar to Darkvally while trading the Ghost resistance for a Bug and Rock ones.
Hattrem is considered for niche stall teams, and while it did play on stall in its DLC1 era. However, Hattrem stall teams were sometimes shaky in an aggressive Volt-Turn metagame, and the current metagame is naturally able to pressure Hattrem thanks to the higher power level. Pokemon Hattrem can take advantage of with its ability, like Stunfisk-Galar, can even threaten to counterstall a poorly played Hattrem, as its power isn't enough to be the most threatening defensive Pokemon.
:pyukumuku: :sableye: :stunfisk-galar:
What caused Hattrem to have a significant impact?
:ivysaur: :vespiquen: :pikachu: :stonjourner: :gourgeist:
Hattrem's ability Magic Bounce in tandem with its Eviolite boosted bulk are the two biggest contributors to the viability Hattrem has had in ZU this generation. Hattrem was given a very easy metagame to dominate when it first fell in September 2020, as ZU was without many hazard setters that could beat out Hattrem in the longer games its bulkier teams preferred to push. Hattrem's role of a bulky defensive pivot was also in high demand during this era, as the Volt-Turn teams of later DLC1 were built around fat defensive pivots snatching momentum before sending in a powerful breaker which usually had some huge liability. Another factor pushing Hattrem up was Vespiquen's popularity; Vespiquen was both a great partner and check to Hattrem, as it could Roost off Hattrem's attacks and threaten to reverse its progress with utility moves or turn it into free momentum with a STAB U-Turn. Vespiquen's Toxic Spikes were in vogue during this period, and Hattrem was vulnerable to not just them but their greatest setter. Ivysaur and its lesser counterpart Gloom could support Hattrem as grounded Poison types.
:natu: :hatenna: :koffing:
Hattrem's typing has frequently been a liability for it, screaming "please spam Knock Off" more than being a solid check to Fighting types. Hattrem's Knock Off weakness was markedly much easier to mitigate in a metagame with Ivysaur, Pikachu, and Machoke, instead of Thwackey, Sawk, and Gurdurr. ZU veterans of SM might recall Natu being the premiere Magic Bouncer of that metagame, and Hattrem's presence in this metagame is hardly a step above the borb (it's actually a subrank below where Natu is don't correct me), despite having greater bulk. While Hattrem knocked Natu and its own prevo Hatenna out of the metagame when it first dropped, it has experienced its own exposure to a bigger fish in a metagame where a comparable pink blob like Clefairy provides a greater level of defensive utility thanks to its typing.
:thwackey: :sawk: :gurdurr:
How do/did you deal with Hattrem in ZU?
:krokorok: :vullaby: :zweilous: :dugtrio-alola: :rotom: :liepard: :accelgor: :morpeko:
Wearing Hattrem down with aggressive play was and is one of the better ways to deal with it. Hattrem and Hattrem teams look for opportunities to get their fat blob in safely to try and sit on something passive, so finding a way to force progress on Hattrem is vital. Hattrem lacks reliable recovery (Life Dew experimentations in DLC1 notwithstanding), and so wearing it down with damage is one of the best ways to get Hattrem off the field and lure in one of its teammates to take advantage of. A carelessly played Hattrem is almost as bad as a Hattrem that can't make it onto the field, and so doubling on turns where Hattrem is expected or forced to come in is very helpful. Knock Off is an obviously good tool against a defensive Psychic NFE, but item disruption of any kind is very difficult for Hattrem, as removing its move flexibility and taking away its Eviolite-boosted bulk forces your opponent to play with a momentum sinking slot. Hattrem's moves are not very strong, but it has just enough to hurt Pokemon with Psychic weaknesses or specially frail hazard setters with 4x weaknesses like Rhydon. Cleric support from Altaria, Clefairy, and Articuno can help to reverse the paralyses that Hattrem may inflict, but hard switching into a Ground or Electric type like Alolan Dugtrio or Rotom threatening Hattrem out with a strong EQ or Shadow Ball can work too. Strong Bug type moves like the popular U-Turn are very riskless against Hattrem, and Accelgor is coincidentally an offensive Bug type with access to Spikes, though you're also free to hit the Hattrem with your Silvally and bring in a breaker that can threaten it. Ghost types like Froslass and Gourgeist-Small can be offensively threatening to Hattrem but must be wary of taking status or a proper coverage move. Dark types have always been very consistent against Hattrem, whether it was the NFE nation of early ZU featuring Krokorok and Zweillous or the new ZU crew of Liepard, Shiftry, and Thievul, but Nuzzle paralysis is a risk and Shiftry is vulnerable to Hattrem's coverage.
:hattrem:
 
:ss/Silvally-Electric:
What effect did Silvally-Electric have on the metagame?
Silvally-Electric has settled as a mid-tier Silvally choice in the SS ZU metagame, operating as an off-beat offensive Electric type wallbreaker with beyond perfect coverage. While Silvally-Electric is overshadowed now by stronger and more popular Silvally forms such as Poison, Dark, and Fighting, Silvally-Electric was actually the first ban of SS ZU.
In what main roles was Silvally-Electric used?
:rotom:
Silvally-Electric is currently (haha) used as a mixed wallbreaker with high BP STAB for an Electric type and a slew of coverage moves to pick and choose its checks. Most teams in ZU which pack Electric checks are not just packing Electric checks, but are specifically geared to check Rotom given how centralizing Rotom is. Rotom forces many teams in the tier having a Stunfisk/Evio Ground + some SpDef mon + a Dark type. Not only does Rotom make the metagame very vulnerable to Elecvally, but the overall popularity of FWG cores led by titans like Tangela, Qwilfish, and Rapidash means that Elecvally's coverage scares out the interdependent metagame.
:tangela: :appletun: :qwilfish: :cramorant: :ninetales: :rapidash:
Silvally-Electric was an unpredictable wallbreaker, sweeper, cleaner, and offensive pivot in the ZU Alpha in April 2020, and up until its ban in the ZU Beta on May 10 2020. Silvally-Electric employed its full privilege of the Silvally movepool; physically-based Elecvally could use Swords Dance and Flame Charge to sweep or throw in U-Turn to catch defensive Grasses with a harder hit while bringing in a check. Parting Shot, Toxic, and Defog were also options on Silvally-Electric, but the unpredictability and difficulty in checking all of Silvally-Electric's offensive sets and their coverage was the crux of its ban.
What caused Silvally-Electric to have a significant impact?
Silvally-Electric's main impact on the tier is mostly in its parasitic antimeta nature, taking advantage of the centralization around FWG cores and Rotom. Defensive teams must be wary about building lazily, as even sound defensive cores of popular Pokemon like Appletun + Cramorant + Piloswine can be picked apart by Silvally-Electric getting its coverage moves and predictions right. Even stall teams are vulnerable, as star players like Altaria and Pyukumuku cannot safely come in and stop Silvally-Electric.
:pyukumuku: :articuno: :altaria: :golbat:
Silvally-Electric's unique qualities as a Silvally and mono-Electric type were more prominent in the era where it was free in ZU before its May 2020 ban. During the ZU Alpha, Silvally-Dark and Silvally-Fighting overshadowed Silvally-Electric, as they had stronger offensive typings and Knock Off resistances in a tier of Eviolite walls hyped up on item disruption. The May 2020 tier shift did not just see Fightvally leave for PU and Darkvally leave for NU, but PU took Vibrava and Palpitoad to deal with its own electrical issues (not that Vib and Palp were good checks to broken Elecvally LOL).
:vibrava: :raichu: :palpitoad: :manectric: :trapinch:
Mudbray, Whiscash, and Seaking were hardly sturdy checks to Elecvally. Evally could always just U-Turn on its slower checks or bust through anyway with resisted hits because it was Silvally and if something wasn't immune to its 120 BP physical Electric STAB it could still just click a coverage move and win. Toxic Spikes, most often from another controversial Pokemon in the metagame, Mareanie, was one of the best ways to wear down Silvally-E's checks long-term. Togetic, Defog Vallies, and Wartortle were considered prime hazard removal in this era. The weak state of hazard removal meant that T-Spikes Silvally-E teams could run down even teams stacking checks like Mudbray + Gourgeist-Large + Seaking.
:togetic: :mareanie: :ivysaur: :vullaby: :dartrix:
How do/did you deal with Silvally-Electric Pokemon in ZU?
Silvally-Electric is vulnerable to being revenge killed by >95 base speed Pokemon, strong Scarfers, and chip damage. Silvally-Electric cannot hold an item to boost its power or mitigate chip damage unlike most Pokemon in ZU, so Silvally-Electric can be prone to being worn into range despite its above average bulk for an offensive Pokemon, let alone one in ZU. Fat Ground types like Rhydon + Stunfisk + Piloswine, so long as they don't switch in on the wrong coverage move, can threaten to deal heavy damage. Alolan Dugtrio's frailty holds it back from switching in safely, but it can threaten to properly revenge kill and OHKO Silvally-Electric with Earthquake. Priority users like Thwackey and the aforementioned Piloswine can pick off Silvally-Electric, especially given its tendency to take chip and take a hit if it needs to set up a Work Up for breaking. Thwackey can actually be a great partner to Silvally-Electric, weakening the power of Earthquake, restoring some of its HP with Grassy Terrain, and luring in Flying types like Articuno for Silvally-Electric to take advantage of. Preserving High Horsepower Rapidash can help with revenge killing Silvally-Electric, as with Flame Charge being almost never seen on its sole set, Silvally-Electric is always frozen at 317 speed.
:dugtrio-alola: :rhydon: :stunfisk: :stunfisk-galar: :gourgeist: :froslass: :sawk:
Whiscash, Mudbray, Gourgeist-Large, Silvally-Grass, Hippopotas, and Gloom were considered some of the better checks against Silvally-Electric in the Pre-DLC ZU metagame. Gloom was an emergent and great help for disrupting the Elecvally Toxic Spikes teams which rose up in response to teams running stacked Elecvally checks. Trying to check all of Silvally-Electric's sets was nearly impossible due to the flexibility within and between Silvally-Electric's sets. Once Silvally-Electric left, Ivysaur was explored a bit more as a Gloom alternative which primarily featured Knock Off over Strength Sap, only for Ivysaur to later emerge as the better of the two Grass/Poison types in both DLC1 and DLC2 ZUs.
:whiscash: :hippopotas: :mudbray: :gloom: :drakloak: :ivysaur:
After Silvally-Electric was banned to ZUBL, it rose to PU in the June 2020 tier shift, was banned to PUBL on June 22nd. Silvally-Electric was unbanned from PU on December 16th 2020 after their big Crown Tundra tier shift hit, and Silvally-Electric dropped to ZUBL again for the January 2021 tier shift, where it was unbanned with the rest of ZUBL.
:silvally:
 
:ss/altaria:

What effect did Pokemon have on the metagame?
altaria has consistently sat around the a, a-, and b+ ranks this entire generation. historically it is an excellent answer to the likes of sawk, rapidash, stunfisk, tangela, and ninetales. when centiskorch was still legal and tearing apart the meta, it was probably the best check, able to resists its dual stab and power whip. in terms of the meta adapting around it, one example is swords dance rapidash teching play rough to hit both it and poliwrath super effectively.

In what main roles was Pokemon used?
altaria is a rare dragon-type in the tier and, paired with its flying typing, is used to blanket check many common types in the tier like fire, fighting, grass, and ground. it faced fierce competition from articuno as a defensive defogger when it first dropped and some could argue that they still do, but alt has certain advantages: it doesnt mind losing its boots as much as cuno does, and coupled with natural cure extending altaria's longevity, it can outlast games longer at times, and it can also check rotom better thanks to electric being neutral rather than super effective.

What caused it to have a significant impact?
its respectable 75/90/105 bulk, defensive typing, defog, reliable recovery in roost, and status absorbing ability in natural cure solidified its status as a consistent staple within the swsh zu meta on both balance and stall alike. it also synergizes well with other top-tier mons like rhydon, miltank, stunfisk, and rapidash. alt users could even choose one of three attacking options depending on the teams' needs: flamethrower is great vs grasses like eldegoss, tangela, and thwackey, and also hit steel-types (you were also naturally faster than uninvested alolan sandslash and threatened a 2hko if they switched in); hurricane was great during the centiskorch meta and has made its comeback as a way to hit fighting-types like sawk, gurdurr, and poliwrath; earthquake was never my favorite but it helped you better check fire-types, and particularly handled steel- and poison-types trying to absorb toxic.

How do/did you deal with this Pokemon in ZU?
strong ice- or rock-type moves mostly. frosmoth, froslass, and jynx with ice beam; froslass with triple axel; sandslash-alola with icicle crash, triple axel, and ice shard; and rhydon and sawk with stone edge are the most notable threats i'd say. clefairy doesnt mind toxic and can win a 1v1 vs alt or even play the long-game with knock and rocks up. alcremie can similarly 1v1 an alt with dazzling gleam and either aromatherapy or rest.
 
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