Metagame USUM Metagame Discussion

I think one the creepiest sets atm is scarf serperior. Shit is amazingly good in this brainless set up and sweep meta atm. The amount of times Ive hard switched it into a dding gya or something is hilarious. And this isnt low ladder this is 1800-2000 range.

Leaf storm, glare, defog filler is great role compression on HO and it is a legit wincon after its several hard checks are gone.
I found a very nice use for Scarf Serperior and can whole heartedly agree, it is very menacing during the late game. In fact, one of the most threatening partners to couple it with is Mega Charizard X. Being able to glare foes in the late game allows for Megazard X to Dragon Dance and then destroy things. Some team options to help strengthen Scarf Serperior were implemented, with DD Zyg acting as one final ultimate wincon.

https://pokepast.es/40371e7a5ad2a01d
 
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I found a very nice use for Scarf Serperior and can whole heartedly agree, it is very menacing during the late game. In fact, one of the most threatening partners to couple it with is Mega Charizard X. Being able to glare foes in the late game allows for Megazard X to Dragon Dance and then destroy things. Some team options to help strengthen Scarf Serperior were implemented, with DD Zyg acting as one final ultimate wincon.

https://pokepast.es/910e5872a6727398
i just wanna say that you should never run modest scarf serp bcuz outspeeding shit like scarf kart is so crucial and the extra damage isnt really missed. scarf serp is a set i use a ton on bulky offense because the leeway it gives you vs stuff like volc/dd mons as well as the matchup vs rain is really appreciated in this meta. not to mention the fact that it checks zygarde AND gren which is something that most teams appreciate because of the role compression. the filler slot is never wasted imo as toxic is nice for zap/tang, and i've used knock off in conjunction with ash gren to help vs av mage's and chanseys. then of course if you dont have a fogger serp can do that in the fourth slot as well. def one of my fav mons right now scarf or synth glare solely because of the amount of role compression it provides, as well as the fact that glare allows you to cheese past counters frequently.
 
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So I run CB sun set up Entei a lot along with set up QD Lilligant......but as a versatile thing to innovate and trick people when playing high meta on the ladder, I came up with Choice Scarf Entei with Sunny Day for quick sun set up, since it pretty much automatically bluffs choice band, and a choice band lilligant with chlorophyll since it gets the speed boost and play tricks on people with it's physical moveset. No one expects choice band Lilli, so it gets a lot of wins.

I also do this to promote versatile meta and innovation. Which, I am very serious about! What do you guys think about this set? Please comment, because I love discussion. Especially on innovations!
-Deschutes

I haven't played OU in a solid 3 months. Are there any dominant metagame trends I should know about?
Me running stuff like this, because I'm a truly penitent man when it comes to sacredly running innovative sets, cores, and teams. Be on the look out! K? K. AHAHAHAHAH, jk with the k thing, cus it's my favorite line from Mean Girls, which some call me since I'm so good at pokemon!
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-Deschutes

Oh, and thanks for the likes, guys! They're YUMMY! :) :D
-Deschutes

Especially from you as well, Gary. Since you're the poster of the thread, and so well-known. Really appreciate that! :D
-Deschutes
 
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I started using Heatran regularly for the first time since August and it's thoroughly boosted the success rate of all my bulky teams ever since. I'm here today however to post the set I've had the most personal success with.




Heatran (F) @ Leftovers
Ability: Flash Fire
Shiny: Yes
EVs: 176 HP / 252 SpA / 40 SpD / 40 Spe
Modest Nature
IVs: 0 Atk
- Magma Storm
- Earth Power
- Toxic
- Substitute

EV Comments:

40 Spe -- guarantees outspeeds of all Mawile variants, an important mon that Heatran is used on teams to check.

252+ SpA -- guarantees maximum damage output for all of Heatran's attacking moves, it is especially nice for Toxapex since it removes the necessity of taunt due to modest tran's raw damage output.


176HP/40SPD -- Boosts tran's overall bulk as much as possible while ofc having an HP stat number synergetic with Leftovers' mechanics. Helps Tran serve as a team soft check to offensive psychic special attackers and boosting Magearna.

Role Compression: bulk, trap utility, offensive pressure, and status ailment

Set Comments:

The star of this set is Substitute, which is criminally underrated on Heatran. It's frustrating to constantly predict, game-after-game, 50-50's between a Landorus-T or Heatran switchin to your own favourably positioned tran.


Toxic pairs nicely with substitute tran in order to punish bulky switchins like band Zygarde or the Lati twins. Wisp only takes care of physical attacking based switchins whereas Toxic IMO punishes a wider threat catalogue of mons, including M-Alakazam which hates wasting F-Blast PP on substitute Tran in addition to being threatened back through racked up toxic, e-power + hazard damage.

Toxicing Bandgarde is especially nice as Bandgarde a threatening mon that easily saps an opponent's momentum by forcing constant switchins to a safe defensive check. Inflicting toxic status onto it ensures that in the long run, they are more punished than you when consistently bringing in the same defensive Zygarde check over the course of the game. Extra attention should be paid to the possibility of sub-zygarde, as it's worth the risk to toxic it on switchin over using substitute in some cases.

If this Heatran has a relatively high amount of its HP left when magma trapping a switchin non heal bell Chansey, it 1v1's it easily even without taunt.

Last few things I'll mention is that bulky sub is useful to counter non-fighting move Tornadus-Ts, as well as countering common tran revenge killing strategies (aka bringing in a greninja afterwards or faster fighting move user like Kartana) thereby providing Heatran with rare opportunities to net 2 back-to-back kills in certain MUs over the course of a game.

Just overall I see it as plenty more useful and threatening over the more common protect variants. It's a threatening tool even for fast z-move tran or fast offensive lefties variants.
 
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Felixx

Come Over When You're Sober
is a Pre-Contributor

Tyranitar-Mega (M) @ Tyranitarite
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 168 HP / 252 Atk / 88 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Stone Edge / Crunch
- Fire Punch / Ice Punch
- Pursuit

Excadrill (M) @ Steelium Z
Ability: Sand Rush
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Iron Head
- Earthquake
- Rapid Spin / Rock Slide

Been playing with some Sand Offense recently and I gotta admit, Excadrill surprised me at how effectively it could actually be as a wallbreaker, sweeper, and revenge killer, as it's Steel / Ground typing + okay bulk and massive 135 Attack in tandem w/ a Z-Move allows it to set-up an SD on Pokemon such as Tornadus-T, Clefable, and AV Magearna, and on forced switches against threats like Heatran, Protean Greninja, M-Medicham, overall it's a really cool mon, and although it isn't fantastic, it's definitely got a unique niche in the tier.

Of course let me talk about it's main partner: Mega Tyranitar. M-Tar is obviously a lot of splashable, and fits on some bulky offense teams in need of a Stealth Rock setter that can also soft check a multitude of threats such as Tornadus-T, Utility Heatran, Zapdos, M-Zard-X, Mega Latios, etc. While it does have some exploitable weaknesses to threats like Zygarde, Kartana, Tapu Bulu, its coverage options + incredible Attack stat allow it to punish these threats easily, and it's not easy to switch into by any means.

Anyways, I think ya'll should try building w/ M-Tar or even incorporate Excadrill into the build, as if these two are played right them they can absolutely dismantle certain teams.



Other observations I've had on the ladder is that stall is pretty common, I see multiple builds of it on the ladder, usually utilizing some form of M-Sableye + Defog user such as Zapdos, Gliscor, etc. The point I'm trying to make is that you should always incorporate at least some form of counterplay towards it, examples of good wallbreakers include Mega Mawile, Mega Heracross, SD Gliscor, and some Stealth Rockers that can keep them up versus stall include Mega Tyranitar, Mega Diancie.
 

Tyranitar-Mega (M) @ Tyranitarite
Ability: Sand Stream
EVs: 168 HP / 252 Atk / 88 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Stone Edge / Crunch
- Fire Punch / Ice Punch
- Pursuit

Excadrill (M) @ Steelium Z
Ability: Sand Rush
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Iron Head
- Earthquake
- Rapid Spin / Rock Slide

Been playing with some Sand Offense recently and I gotta admit, Excadrill surprised me at how effectively it could actually be as a wallbreaker, sweeper, and revenge killer, as it's Steel / Ground typing + okay bulk and massive 135 Attack in tandem w/ a Z-Move allows it to set-up an SD on Pokemon such as Tornadus-T, Clefable, and AV Magearna, and on forced switches against threats like Heatran, Protean Greninja, M-Medicham, overall it's a really cool mon, and although it isn't fantastic, it's definitely got a unique niche in the tier.

Of course let me talk about it's main partner: Mega Tyranitar. M-Tar is obviously a lot of splashable, and fits on some bulky offense teams in need of a Stealth Rock setter that can also soft check a multitude of threats such as Tornadus-T, Utility Heatran, Zapdos, M-Zard-X, Mega Latios, etc. While it does have some exploitable weaknesses to threats like Zygarde, Kartana, Tapu Bulu, its coverage options + incredible Attack stat allow it to punish these threats easily, and it's not easy to switch into by any means.

Anyways, I think ya'll should try building w/ M-Tar or even incorporate Excadrill into the build, as if these two are played right them they can absolutely dismantle certain teams.



Other observations I've had on the ladder is that stall is pretty common, I see multiple builds of it on the ladder, usually utilizing some form of M-Sableye + Defog user such as Zapdos, Gliscor, etc. The point I'm trying to make is that you should always incorporate at least some form of counterplay towards it, examples of good wallbreakers include Mega Mawile, Mega Heracross, SD Gliscor, and some Stealth Rockers that can keep them up versus stall include Mega Tyranitar, Mega Diancie.

I have always liked the concept of sand offense. But I'm either doing it wrong (possible), incompet (also possible, but unlikely), or have bad luck. For whatever reason it just seems like Excadrill is as frail as tissue paper when I use it.
 

Finchinator

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Stall in SM OU

Hey everyone. As many of you know, I have started to frequent stall in recent months. I feel like this archetype is not only ridiculously underrated in the current metagame, but also not fully understood by the playerbase, so I am making a post to try and raise exposure/understanding, provoke discussion, and hopefully help evolve the metagame as we know it.

I feel that the best way to approach this would be to break down the elements of stall teams themselves, explaining why they are what they are and perhaps piecing the puzzle together in the head of people who are less experienced with the archetype. I would also like to show some example teams/games to put it all out there and give some context. Finally, I want to discuss potential tiering implications that stall has on the metagame. Given that, I am going to break down this post into four parts:
  • Components of stall teams
  • Example teams
  • How-to-play / Example games
  • Tiering implications
Components of stall teams

Chansey


Chansey is the single most common Pokemon on stall teams currently. It has been this way for all of SM to be honest, but you can put specific emphasis on this recently seeing as more and more stall teams have been exploring options other than Mega Sableye, which used to be a staple. I feel it would be very hard, if not impossible, to create a stall team that lacks Chansey and can still be considered optimal. Chansey is of such vital importance because it has absurd bulk, especially on the special side, coupled with only being weak to Fighting types, having a great utility movepool, and being able to at least tinker with progress-making thanks to Seismic Toss and Toxic being viable options. While Chansey itself is oftentimes strapped for moves, being able to fit Toxic makes it significantly more effective and less passive. Stealth Rock and Heal Bell are on almost every stall team and Chansey is often needed for one or both. If you can give these to other Pokemon, then you will not only diversify your team and perhaps make a lot of match-ups less dependent on singular conditions, but you will also get the most out of your Chansey, which is beneficial. Anyway, I am going to assume that people understand the basic functions of Chansey, letting me move on from this and not go on-and-on about how many things it covers and how practical it is for these teams.

Mega slot


First and foremost, a mega is NOT mandatory on stall, let alone one of these two. It is plausible to make megaless stall that is optimal, but the match-up trade-offs are something that a user of these teams should be smart about. All of the teams I personally frequent and will be sharing have a mega and they all are either Sableye or Aggron, so I will proceed with my experiences and insight on these two. However, be sure not to limit yourself with your own builds/experimenting with stall if you wish to expand your horizons further than I currently have done so as an individual.

Mega Sableye is easily the most common mega evolution on stall and perhaps the third most common Pokemon on the archetype overall, behind Chansey and Zapdos. Mega Sableye is ridiculously practical on stall teams thanks to the ability Magic Bounce, letting it work in conjunction with Defog/Rapid Spin cores to assure that hazards are kept off the field as much as possible. Oftentimes, hazards being up combined with specific threats, switching sequences being provoked, or a combination of the two leads to the downfall of stall. Checks and counters only remain checks and counters if they are kept somewhat healthy, which hazards being up consistently can easily prevent. Therefore, one of the clear priorities of stall is to have consistent covergae of the hazard metagame, which is where Mega Sableye comes in to play. Non-Z Heatran, Gliscor, Non-Z Landorus-T, Ferrothorn, Hippowdon, RH Garchomp, Chansey, some Protean Greninja, and Mega Aggron can almost never set up hazards if facing a well-played Mega Sableye stall, thus making the match-up ridiculously more favorable than it otherwise would be. On top of this, Pokemon that are capable of setting up Stealth Rock regardless due to their effectiveness against Mega Sableye, such as Mega Diancie, Clefable, Z Heatran, Z Landorus-T, Ash Greninja, Mega Tyranitar, and Z Garchomp, still have to think twice before clicking a hazard setting move in confidence due to Mega Sableye's presence and also honestly the presence of Mega Sableye has bolstered the viability of a number of these hazard setters, attesting to how viable it is.

Mega Aggron is far less defined in its roll than Mega Sableye, perhaps showing why it is not only less common, but also seen as more of a niche option given its current place in the viability rankings in C rank. With this said, it is a naturally strong and durable Pokemon, making it very worthwhile in certain contexts. Mega Aggron is perhaps the best counter the game has to offer to non-Focus Punch Mega Mawile, Mega Aggron is able to 1v1 any non-Z Fire Heatran, Mega Aggron pressures cores with Clefable, Tornadus-Therian, and/or Toxapex while also setting up Stealth Rock, thus making it super helpful when it comes to actually winning games, and Mega Aggron when given Wish support is able to turn a lot of difficult situations into manageable ones given proper execution (general sentiment, but still holds true and examples will be provided in replays later). For more on Mega Aggron and what it provides, I would advise reading this post and the one above it.

Unaware / Set-up deterrents


This slot is super straightforward, so hopefully everyone will understand it. Anyway, to briefly go over it: stall teams allow turns to opposing win conditions often due to the lack of consistent pressure they apply. Therefore, these Pokemon can set-up and try to sweep, but Unaware Pokemon can oftentimes thwart those efforts if used properly. Magearna is also listed as it functions in a similar fashion, but I will touch on this more later.

Quagsire is my favorite Unaware Pokemon because it doubles as a Ground type, proving to be very valuable in blocking Volt Switch and just having a generally helpful defensive presence. Overall, Quagsire has respectable utility with Haze and Toxic, making it less passive than it may seem to be. Scald is also a clear asset as the prospect of a burn makes a lot of things think twice about switching in comfortably.

Pyukumuku has seen much better days in the past, but is still a viable Unaware Pokemon. It was much more common on stall earlier in 2018, but you still see it pop up here-and-there. Pyukumuku is a merciless bastard to opposing teams that have specific win conditions that may otherwise do well against stall; with Block + Spite + Rest, Pyukumuku can eliminate entire specific Pokemon that stay in against it while just sitting there sleeping. It is the most passive piece of shit, but it has enough bulk and the right moves to eliminate specific win conditions, so it is a viable option.

Clefable is personally my second favorite Unaware Pokemon; Unaware Clefable is objectively worse than Magic Guard seeing as it takes status and hazard damage, which is basically everything... BUT it still is viable as it gets the job done against a lot of common bulky set-up. In addition, it also provides support to team members by being able to pass Wishes and if you elect to use Calm Mind or Toxic then it can be a lot less passive than it may initially seem to be, which is helpful for trying to make progress.

Magearna does not get the ability Unaware, BUT it does get Heart Swap and this is great against Calm Mind Clefable, Calm Mind Reuniclus, Calm Mind/Shift Gear Magearna, Calm Mind Mega Latias, Calm Mind Tapu Lele, Serperior, etc. Honestly, Magearna is a great Pokemon to have because it gives to a cleric, momentum grabber, decent balanced presence, AND it helps with a number of problematic boosters, including some that Unaware Pokemon can struggle with (i.e: specific Z Reuniclus variants, Calm Mind + Stored Power Clefable, Serperior, and Tapu Lele). Overall, Magearna can not fit on every stall team and more often than not you will want to use an actual Unaware Pokemon like Quagsire, but there are semi-likely circumstances that call for Magearna and these teams are much more versatile in terms of gameplay options given how resourceful Magearna is as a Pokemon I feel.

Defog cores


First and foremost, there are more viable Defoggers than these four. I don't even use Moltres at all myself, but it has been a viable option ever since the WCOP Finals tiebreak game where Bro Fist showed it off, so I wanted to include its little sprite above. Anyway, aside from this group depicted above, viable Defoggers on stall include: literally anything that gets Defog that you feel improves your team more than the alternatives if slotted on it. Do not try to limit yourself when building/testing stall. I would love to see the archetype diversify and new options tried out in the future, so go nuts!

Anyway, instead of going singular Pokemon by Pokemon, I feel like I will be a bit more direct and practical with this explanation. The goal of your Defog core is primarily to assure that you can consistently keep the hazards set by common hazard setters in the metagame off. If this is by threatening the setters out, thus letting you Defog freely, or simply outlasting them thanks to PP/Pressure does not matter, but the task must be done as effectively as possible for a stall team to have the necessary durability to function consistently. Normally, teams have multiple Defog users. Two is most common, but you can encounter a team with three every now-and-then. There are also alternatives like Mega Sableye, Avalugg, etc. that can also play a role in hazard control, which is appreciated.

I have a couple example Defog cores that you will later notice are recurring on the teams I share and I think that these are just solid examples of being able to cover a vast majority of the hazard-setters in the tier, especially when paired with the things mentioned above. Core 1 is by far my most common core and probably the most consistent. This Mew is able to stomach 2 Specs Lele Moonblasts almost always while hard countering Z Heatran and being able to handle max SAtk Mega Diancie. All things considered, it is a ridiculously good utility fit on the teams I use it on and I am glad I figured out this spread when I did. The Zapdos is super standard, but quite effective nonetheless. Zapdos is close to a staple on stall due to some specific favorable MUs it brings to the table and, more importantly, the ability Pressure, letting it outstall things like Stealth Rock Clefable lacking Calm Mind or Toxic and the PP of so many moves. Core 2 is best on Mega Aggron stalls, specifically those with Wish Chansey or Wish Unaware Clefable. Regardless, it is pretty solid at covering as much as possible between just two Defoggers without any Mega Sableye support, but it is strapped in terms of other effectiveness, leading the brunt of the progress-making work outside of Knock/status/potential Gliscor SR to be left on the 4 remaining members. Just to go into a little detail, this Mew is a more PDef oriented set, geared towards stomaching a number of important physical hits and being a top-notch counter to Mega Medicham which is otherwise problematic to non-Mega Sableye stall. The Gliscor set is meant to maximize SDef presence, giving it 4-5% less damage taken by special moves than the normal max HP rest in SDef spread, thus making the odds vs Z Heatran go up significantly. Core 3 is only viable on Mega Sableye stalls, but it is quite good on teams of that sort.

Don't limit yourself to just these, but these are three effective examples of Defog cores that I have integrated into multiple teams in the past with success. I feel like Zapdos is the single best Defogger on stall teams and it should be on a vast majority of stalls, but Mew and Gliscor are also both strong options. Mew is great because it can be used in so many different ways, with the SDef variant in core 1 being a great example of how it can be used to fit a specific mold. Gliscor in general never dies with Poison Heal, can potentially provide Stealth Rock as well, and has a ton of super practical applications. Overall, covering the hazard metagame should be a top priority and if your stall team has noteworthy holes on this front, then odds are you are going to struggle in relevant match-ups to that hole.

FINALLY, and this is separate from Defog cores, there is more than just these things I outlined above to stall teams. However, these are all near essential/common components that I felt it was best to outline. From there, you need to identify what your team needs and what your team is weak to and fill out the remainder in the most optimal way you possibly can, just like building any other team but with the end goal being more drawn-out and stall oriented of course.

Example teams

Here is a visual of all of the stalls I have built and/or used since the start of Smogon Snake Draft II (since August, pretty much). Anyway, I will show the imports and provide explanations for a few of the stalls I have used the most in tournaments and then just share the remainder as I do not feel like sharing a specific mindset over a dozen individual teams, especially when a ton of it is repetitive/overlapping.

Before I go through the teams, YES EVERY STALL TEAM HAS A COUPLE UNAVOIDABLE WEAKNESSES. I hope I don't have to repeat this a million times throughout the next week. If I do, I will regret even going out of my way to make this post. It is an inherent risk of using the playstyle; there are some associated with most playstyles, especially the "extremes" of the metagame.

Import


This team is the team I used vs Hayburner during Smogon Snake Draft II. I will get into the replay as part of the replays section later, but for now I want to go through the team. This was my first Mega Aggron build, so it was a bit of a novel experience for me, making me want to explore every possible option to come up with the optimal supporting cast. I knew Hayburner had a history of using "cheese" and I was kind of paranoid after Kickasser used some Webs against me the week prior, so I decided it was time to consider Buzzwole (and Chesnaught, but that team never really saw the light of day). Buzz is great for blanket checking a number of PDef win conditions, which also takes a lot of stress off of my Unaware Pokemon. Some examples are Zygarde, Mega Heracross (I am using Toxic on this variant to help put it on a timer instead of losing the 1v1 with BU), most Kartana, Tapu Bulu, Mega Lopunny, and Mega Tyranitar. From there, I had Mega Aggron, Chansey (staple), and Buzzwole. I knew that I was vulnerable as all hell to hazards, so I threw on my best core of Defoggers to fit for size, which is the aforementioned Mew + Zapdos core that worked so well on a number of teams. Those two worked like a charm and then I just needed Unaware/set-up deterrent, which happened to be Quagsire as it provided me with a Ground type, it learned Haze which made me more comfortable against Reuniclus seeing as I lacked a Dark type, and it was a good fit for the team seeing as it can fit Toxic and my Chansey and Mega Aggron both lacked it. From there, the team was good to go. I tried to touch on the general roles and ideas behind adding each member, but throughout the process I also kept an eye on the list of threats to help decide Pokemon, moves, EVs, etc. I would be glad to answer any specific questions on those details, so feel free to ask here/over VM or PM, but I will not go into that much detail throughout this post as to not make it anymore of a novel.

Import


This is the team that I used vs Ramboss during Smogon Snake Draft II; this team was initially built to use against Posho and it was the first time I stalled a noteworthy tournament game since last Snake, so it sort of was the start of all of this. Instead of starting with Mega Sableye and working my way through, I actually want to say that the start of this team was the aforementioned Defog core of SDef Mew + Zapdos. This core has worked wonders for me so many times as I have alluded to on numerous occasions throughout this post and this is the origin of it. I knew these two plus an eventual Mega Sableye covered whatever I expected, so I threw on Mega Sableye for a few things, including added hazard control, and Chansey, which unfortunately needed SR + Heal Bell here, but sometimes that's what it has to come to. From there, I knew I needed a Mega Mawile check, an Unaware Pokemon/set-up deterrent, and ideally a Ground type over the next few Pokemon (actually, these roles + potentially having SR or Heal Bell to free up space on Chansey, but you will see this specific variant was not able to do that). Anyway, with all of these conditions in mind, I came up with all of these builds, of which the imports of the others will be shown later. I ultimately decided RH Tangrowth + Unaware Quagsire was the best fit for the opponent. The former provided great coverage for Zygarde, Kartana, and Mega Mawile given the set I was using. The latter of which provided a Ground type Unaware Pokemon with important utility moves such as Haze and Toxic.

OH yea before I forget! I made this amusing Google Doc before I played in case I grew uncertain about how to pilot stall seeing as this was my first big stall game in a while and I was not yet confident in my ability to play it, especially if things got more complex. HERE! It is absurdly long and tries to go in depth on every single potentially problematic Pokemon, which shows how fucking uncertain I was of myself going into that game tbh. Turns out I didn't really need it and I won the game without clicking on the tab once, but my MU was petty favorable. Anyway, this is a cool idea for beginners using their own stall teams. Try to write it out/play it out in your head, even if it is just for a small handful of Pokemon as opposed to the whole tier as I probably went pretty overboard here (ok yea 22 pages, I hella did lmao). Anyway, stuff like this being integrated into an approach to give you an extra layer of confidence is cool and I love hearing about how other tournament players approach their games, so I figured including a bit of my personal process for a first stall game could be intriguing for those who are trying to get into it themselves, so i hope this helped, even if it is just to the slightest extent.

Import


This is probably my favorite stall overall and it is the team I have used the most besides the two above that I used in official tournament games. Overall, it has been my go-to when I knew I wanted to stall someone in SmogonTour, but did not have a read on them as to what specific variant of other stall may be the play. Anyway, this team has one admittedly annoying flaw: lack of a Ground type. Tapu Koko is nearing an all-time-low and even then it uses U-turn over Volt Switch almost always, so that's not a big deal, but even then, it or AV Magearna + an annoying Pokemon will require some outplaying as opposed to laid back counterplay like normally, so keep this in mind when piloting this in those specific MUs. The team itself is meant to play a bit like the Ciele/ILovePinkMons stall did back in the hay day of SM, which is why I love it so much in SmogTour and even on the ladder occasionally. Mega Aggron + 2 Wish passers was the idea, leading me to Clefable + Alomomola, both of which helped a ton with Mega Medicham, too (Mola is RH, Clef is just a natural check), which is annoying to non-Mega Sableye stall. Anyway, I don't want to repeat the process as I did above twice already, but same old same old with the Defoggers and the dual wish core was integrated as the initial idea with Mega Aggron as I alluded to above, so from there it is just Chansey as always and picking the optimal sets for the team, which came with some threat-list analysis and trial-and-error on the ladder. This team is probably the most "fun" of any stall team to play for me and I say that entirely seriously -- I actually do enjoy playing stall, who would've thought? Certainly not me ~6 months ago. But anyway, here we are and here's the team!

Here are a bunch of other teams that I have just built or used, but much less than these three:
Do note that in the replays later on in the post, some moves may be different. I CStyled specific opponents who had problematic trends as to make sure I was not in danger whenever I had time to check replays. These imports are what I deem to be consistent variants of each team (or as consistent as possible, anyway). Feel free to change as you please anyway, of course.

How-to-play / Example games

First thing is first: I love this subforum, I love to help people, and I love this community. I do not love torture, however. Therefore, instead of going through replay-after-replay and analyzing specific plays/sequences, I will go over some general thoughts/guidelines on piloting stall and then provide example replays that you guys can use to try to connect it all together if you would like to. What you do with this post is totally up to you, but I will provide what is necessary to at least get a grasp given my abilities to help. Given that, here are some personal tips to playing stall:
  • Information: Use any and all information you get from your opponents team/play. One piece of information, which can be as small as an EV spread or individual move, can lead to you figuring out multiple full sets/spreads. Once you have their team generally plotted out, you know exactly what you need and how you can best go about walling it, making progress, not compromising your collective defensive presences, and avoiding any potential instances of getting unlucky to lose in favorable match-ups. The information war is huge. If you are playing stall, it is almost nice to not disclose things purposely in some more drawn out scenarios if possible, especially if your opponent is well-versed in the metagame or playing stall. If you are the stall player, use whatever you know to piece the opponent's team together. From there, you can gameplan. PSA: USE THE FUCKING DAMAGE CALC ON ANYTHING YOU CAN PLEASE STOP BEING SO SLOPPY @ THE ENTIRE NEW GENERATION OF POCKET MONSTERS PLAYERS FFS
  • Gameplanning: Sometimes, this can be done at team preview without much hesitation. Sometimes, it can be done partially then and then fully once you know more about their team/sets/spreads. And sometimes almost all of it is delayed until a later point when things are sufficiently felt out, if it is not too late and the early game was not too costly. This entirely depends on the opponent and their match-up, which makes sense seeing how reactionary a playstyle stall truly is. Anyway, your goal is to find a way to optimally prevent them from being able to break through significant members of your team/your team as a whole or at least have good odds to break you. It oftentimes becomes cyclical and repetitive in practice, but understanding how to plot a long-term gameplan and executing it is vital for a successful stall player. Your gameplan should also include methods of actually making progress, especially against durable opposing teams. Oftentimes, this centers around stuff as small as keeping rocks up for specific periods/sequences, stalling out specific moves PP so that a Pokemon can no longer threaten one of yours, or conditioning your opponent into a repetitive neutral sequence so that you can eventually take advantage with a more aggressive pivot thrown in to let you do damage, set hazards, status something, etc. This is all largely game dependent, but also insanely important to actually winning games as playing stall is rarely just trying to get the game to physically stall out for hundreds of turns.
  • Prioritizing: Arguably a part of gameplanning, but also something that should just generally be of note to people playing stall. You need to know when to push a specific issue in the game and when to back off. You need to know when it is appropriate to stray from your normal sequences/lines of counterplay and when it is not appropriate to do so. You need to be able to gauge risk-vs-reward in a short term and long term fashion if you want to play drawn out games optimally. This probably sounds like some mumbo-jumbo mixture of a fortune cookie and an introductory level investments lecture right about now, but trust me it all has meaning and it will save your ass. There are ALWAYS going to be things you need to win the game when using stall, oftentimes the same things each time. There are SOMETIMES, however, going to be things you can risk in a timely, practical, and calculated fashion that may give you a leg up. Be it through setting SR up, getting an extra status, maybe forcing a trade? who knows, but if you can figure out what you need, what you can play a bit less conservatively, and what gives you some leverage for prediction/middlegrounds/getting the opponent a bit too caught up in their own plays to the point where they later second guess themselves...these things may very well be present in your battle and you need to make the absolute most of them to win vs good players in non-favorable MUs. Make note of this, try to decipher what this means to you, and try to figure out what it means in the context of specific games and you will find yourself maximizing your odds more often than not.
  • Details: Health, PP, EV spreads, items, status, etc. -- do not forget any of these things. This is going to be brief and to the point. Newer players often overlook specific routes to victory for more common, generally effective ones they frequent in other match-ups with other archetypes. This is not going to get you very far with stall. You need to pay attention to each and every last detail, especially with regards to PP and EV spreads. That helps decipher some information above, get you to a point where you can make progress in your gameplan, etc. This stuff is all intertwined after all as it is the same game of Pokemon, but please do yourself a favor and be careful, pay attention to the details, and do NOT click.
There is so much more that can be said, but these points stood out to me, especially for when it comes to trying to explain things to likely OU Subforum frequents who may lack experience playing stall. I would be glad to elaborate or go into more depth on anything, so feel free to hmu anytime. Here are some replays:
I'd be fine going through a battle here-or-there just to explain my specific mindset, gameplan, priorities, etc., so feel free to contact me individually if you would like, but going through multiple and doing so consistently or all in this post for the sake of showcasing my thought process feels like it'd be way too much, so for now I'll leave it at that.

Tiering implications

I was not sure if I wanted to include this section or not, but I think it is for the best. I think that stall has potential to be ridiculously good, even if people will likely adapt to it more-and-more over time if it gains traction. Do I think there is a chance that we could be in another position where stall is good enough to warrant some sort of suspect in the future? Maybe, it is not impossible. I would 100% not support a suspect of anything stall related currently, however. I would love to see more people experiment with stall, perhaps even find the next BIG stall during SPL/STour playoffs/OST or something. That could put it over the edge -- who knows? Certainly not me! Regardless, I think that this is something the general public needs to take more seriously and try out more as it is being overlooked a ton right now. I think that SM has a lot of evolving left to do and some of that can be found within the stall archetype, so hopefully this post and the resources provided throughout it can help provoke a more diverse metagame full of playerbase realization and perhaps the evolution of SM OU as we know it.

s/o mortimer the mighty bagon for the inspiration, finch out
 

Estronic

simple geometry
Gonna have to echo the above posters and say that was an amazing analysis on stall. I've only started to actually enjoy playing stall, and your post Finch will certainly help me in the long run. Though, I do have a few questions:
1. How do you play stall vs stall?
2. Are there any hidden gems in stall that are worth exploring?
3. I've seen some stall teams that utilize a fast revenge killer, a la Weavile, etc. Is this optimal?
Thanks!
 
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Martin

*electrical hum*
is a Forum Moderatoris a Live Chat Contributor
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Gonna have to echo the above posters and say that was an amazing analysis on stall. I've only started to actually enjoy playing stall, and your post Finch will certainly help me in the long run. Though, I do have a few questions:
1. How do you play stall vs stall?
2. Are there any hidden gems that are worth exploring through stall?
3. I've seen some stall teams that utilize a fast revenge killer, a la Weavile, etc. Is this optimal?
Thanks!
I can’t answer the first two questions, but the role of Weavile on stall teams is less to function as a fast revenge killer (although that’s certainly a bonus) and more because of its ability to trap and eliminate (or otherwise severely threaten) certain threatening Pokemon for stall teams such as Energy Ball Reuniclus, Gliscor etc. and just generally being nice for weaking stallbreakers/removing them once they are weakened. I don’t really think that it’s necessary but it is definitely worth considering because it does improve some match-ups (as well as obviously worsening others) and honestly it just depends on what your priorities are when playing and what your team is weak to.
 
It's important to note with stall that the meta has numerous threats that can't all be covered with only 6 mons to work with. In addition, some of these threats really don't have much counterplay, especially when they can run different sets that beats checks to their other sets. Some examples are Heatran, Mega Mawile, Tapu Lele, Kyurem Black, Zygarde (god help you if it has Toxic), Zard X, Hoopa-U, Mega Heracross, etc.

Stall vs stall is also very frustrating since it often becomes double switching constantly with Regenerator mons soaking up hits and opposing cores being unable to break each other. Some stall staples are decent at breaking opposing stall (Pressure Zapdos, SD Gliscor) but for the most part it's difficult for both players to get anywhere.

tl;dr matchup is very important
 
I have a few of things I wound like to bring up for discussion. Mostly just to see how other people are thinking about a few things I've come to like.

First: Mega Diancie-Good "anti lead" to shake up teams plans, or just something with insane stats let down by lousy HP? I have found very good success using Protect-M-Diancie as an anti-lead, with a little bit of suicide lead built in. It can scout a bit, and almost always gets up Rocks (its bulky to survive nearly all hits that are not 4× SE, and surprisingly fast). After that (in only takes a turn or two of Magic Bounce on the field to wrinkle many strategies) I'm not afraid to see it die. Plus, its hilarious when people aren't caught up on what it does, and bounce their own Taunt, Hazard, of Status back at themselves. On the flip side, it has a comedically awful movepool. Its signature move is Physical, yet it can not learn the Physical Fairy move, nor can it learn EQ, so it is forced to go mixed. This means one of the two isnt going to hit too hard. Also, it seems like it is weak to everything under the sun, amd really only has one decent resist (Dragon). So, what's your take?

Secondly: Tapu Koko + Hawlucha: Poised for a big time come back? While usage of both has undeniably waned, Hawlucha has seemingly fallen off the face of the meta. Because of this, it might be time for it to rear its ugly head once again. When building teams many people get to Hawlucha and think "nobody uses that anymore, non-issue." Until they run into it and it smashes them. It's kind of funny, by falling off the planet for a time it has created an opportunity for it to rise to prominence once again. Do note that yes, both are still very OU, but long gone are the days where the combo was on every other team. Thoughts?

Lastly: Kartana: Choice Scarf/Band, Z-Tailwind, or other? I absolutely love Kartana. As an end game cleaner it is among the best, with Greninja-Ash being one of few PkMn who clean up better. Now to the point, what do you think is the best set up for it for the role of End Game Cleaner? Choice Band is pretty much automatically out fornScarf, as at that point in the game you dont really need extra attacking power as you need to be faster than everything (Plus Beast Boost nets you attack boosts as you go). The issue here is if both teams are down to three living PkMn, with one healthy and two below 50%, being choice locked is not ideal and can lead to you having to make unnecessary switches. Z-Tailwind is the set ive been using as of late, it seems to work very well. Kartana actually has reasonable Physical bulk, as well as being known to force a lot of switches so the setup turn isnt that hard to pull off. If you get it going, you should be able to KO at least 3 PkMn while Tailwind is in effect.

Wow. That post came out a lot longer than I thought. Anyhow, for anyone who read that small novel I accidentally wrote: thoughts, opinions, objections, etc?
 
Stall in SM OU

Hey everyone. As many of you know, I have started to frequent stall in recent months. I feel like this archetype is not only ridiculously underrated in the current metagame, but also not fully understood by the playerbase, so I am making a post to try and raise exposure/understanding, provoke discussion, and hopefully help evolve the metagame as we know it.

I feel that the best way to approach this would be to break down the elements of stall teams themselves, explaining why they are what they are and perhaps piecing the puzzle together in the head of people who are less experienced with the archetype. I would also like to show some example teams/games to put it all out there and give some context. Finally, I want to discuss potential tiering implications that stall has on the metagame. Given that, I am going to break down this post into four parts:
  • Components of stall teams
  • Example teams
  • How-to-play / Example games
  • Tiering implications
Components of stall teams

Chansey


Chansey is the single most common Pokemon on stall teams currently. It has been this way for all of SM to be honest, but you can put specific emphasis on this recently seeing as more and more stall teams have been exploring options other than Mega Sableye, which used to be a staple. I feel it would be very hard, if not impossible, to create a stall team that lacks Chansey and can still be considered optimal. Chansey is of such vital importance because it has absurd bulk, especially on the special side, coupled with only being weak to Fighting types, having a great utility movepool, and being able to at least tinker with progress-making thanks to Seismic Toss and Toxic being viable options. While Chansey itself is oftentimes strapped for moves, being able to fit Toxic makes it significantly more effective and less passive. Stealth Rock and Heal Bell are on almost every stall team and Chansey is often needed for one or both. If you can give these to other Pokemon, then you will not only diversify your team and perhaps make a lot of match-ups less dependent on singular conditions, but you will also get the most out of your Chansey, which is beneficial. Anyway, I am going to assume that people understand the basic functions of Chansey, letting me move on from this and not go on-and-on about how many things it covers and how practical it is for these teams.

Mega slot


First and foremost, a mega is NOT mandatory on stall, let alone one of these two. It is plausible to make megaless stall that is optimal, but the match-up trade-offs are something that a user of these teams should be smart about. All of the teams I personally frequent and will be sharing have a mega and they all are either Sableye or Aggron, so I will proceed with my experiences and insight on these two. However, be sure not to limit yourself with your own builds/experimenting with stall if you wish to expand your horizons further than I currently have done so as an individual.

Mega Sableye is easily the most common mega evolution on stall and perhaps the third most common Pokemon on the archetype overall, behind Chansey and Zapdos. Mega Sableye is ridiculously practical on stall teams thanks to the ability Magic Bounce, letting it work in conjunction with Defog/Rapid Spin cores to assure that hazards are kept off the field as much as possible. Oftentimes, hazards being up combined with specific threats, switching sequences being provoked, or a combination of the two leads to the downfall of stall. Checks and counters only remain checks and counters if they are kept somewhat healthy, which hazards being up consistently can easily prevent. Therefore, one of the clear priorities of stall is to have consistent covergae of the hazard metagame, which is where Mega Sableye comes in to play. Non-Z Heatran, Gliscor, Non-Z Landorus-T, Ferrothorn, Hippowdon, RH Garchomp, Chansey, some Protean Greninja, and Mega Aggron can almost never set up hazards if facing a well-played Mega Sableye stall, thus making the match-up ridiculously more favorable than it otherwise would be. On top of this, Pokemon that are capable of setting up Stealth Rock regardless due to their effectiveness against Mega Sableye, such as Mega Diancie, Clefable, Z Heatran, Z Landorus-T, Ash Greninja, Mega Tyranitar, and Z Garchomp, still have to think twice before clicking a hazard setting move in confidence due to Mega Sableye's presence and also honestly the presence of Mega Sableye has bolstered the viability of a number of these hazard setters, attesting to how viable it is.

Mega Aggron is far less defined in its roll than Mega Sableye, perhaps showing why it is not only less common, but also seen as more of a niche option given its current place in the viability rankings in C rank. With this said, it is a naturally strong and durable Pokemon, making it very worthwhile in certain contexts. Mega Aggron is perhaps the best counter the game has to offer to non-Focus Punch Mega Mawile, Mega Aggron is able to 1v1 any non-Z Fire Heatran, Mega Aggron pressures cores with Clefable, Tornadus-Therian, and/or Toxapex while also setting up Stealth Rock, thus making it super helpful when it comes to actually winning games, and Mega Aggron when given Wish support is able to turn a lot of difficult situations into manageable ones given proper execution (general sentiment, but still holds true and examples will be provided in replays later). For more on Mega Aggron and what it provides, I would advise reading this post and the one above it.

Unaware / Set-up deterrents


This slot is super straightforward, so hopefully everyone will understand it. Anyway, to briefly go over it: stall teams allow turns to opposing win conditions often due to the lack of consistent pressure they apply. Therefore, these Pokemon can set-up and try to sweep, but Unaware Pokemon can oftentimes thwart those efforts if used properly. Magearna is also listed as it functions in a similar fashion, but I will touch on this more later.

Quagsire is my favorite Unaware Pokemon because it doubles as a Ground type, proving to be very valuable in blocking Volt Switch and just having a generally helpful defensive presence. Overall, Quagsire has respectable utility with Haze and Toxic, making it less passive than it may seem to be. Scald is also a clear asset as the prospect of a burn makes a lot of things think twice about switching in comfortably.

Pyukumuku has seen much better days in the past, but is still a viable Unaware Pokemon. It was much more common on stall earlier in 2018, but you still see it pop up here-and-there. Pyukumuku is a merciless bastard to opposing teams that have specific win conditions that may otherwise do well against stall; with Block + Spite + Rest, Pyukumuku can eliminate entire specific Pokemon that stay in against it while just sitting there sleeping. It is the most passive piece of shit, but it has enough bulk and the right moves to eliminate specific win conditions, so it is a viable option.

Clefable is personally my second favorite Unaware Pokemon; Unaware Clefable is objectively worse than Magic Guard seeing as it takes status and hazard damage, which is basically everything... BUT it still is viable as it gets the job done against a lot of common bulky set-up. In addition, it also provides support to team members by being able to pass Wishes and if you elect to use Calm Mind or Toxic then it can be a lot less passive than it may initially seem to be, which is helpful for trying to make progress.

Magearna does not get the ability Unaware, BUT it does get Heart Swap and this is great against Calm Mind Clefable, Calm Mind Reuniclus, Calm Mind/Shift Gear Magearna, Calm Mind Mega Latias, Calm Mind Tapu Lele, Serperior, etc. Honestly, Magearna is a great Pokemon to have because it gives to a cleric, momentum grabber, decent balanced presence, AND it helps with a number of problematic boosters, including some that Unaware Pokemon can struggle with (i.e: specific Z Reuniclus variants, Calm Mind + Stored Power Clefable, Serperior, and Tapu Lele). Overall, Magearna can not fit on every stall team and more often than not you will want to use an actual Unaware Pokemon like Quagsire, but there are semi-likely circumstances that call for Magearna and these teams are much more versatile in terms of gameplay options given how resourceful Magearna is as a Pokemon I feel.

Defog cores


First and foremost, there are more viable Defoggers than these four. I don't even use Moltres at all myself, but it has been a viable option ever since the WCOP Finals tiebreak game where Bro Fist showed it off, so I wanted to include its little sprite above. Anyway, aside from this group depicted above, viable Defoggers on stall include: literally anything that gets Defog that you feel improves your team more than the alternatives if slotted on it. Do not try to limit yourself when building/testing stall. I would love to see the archetype diversify and new options tried out in the future, so go nuts!

Anyway, instead of going singular Pokemon by Pokemon, I feel like I will be a bit more direct and practical with this explanation. The goal of your Defog core is primarily to assure that you can consistently keep the hazards set by common hazard setters in the metagame off. If this is by threatening the setters out, thus letting you Defog freely, or simply outlasting them thanks to PP/Pressure does not matter, but the task must be done as effectively as possible for a stall team to have the necessary durability to function consistently. Normally, teams have multiple Defog users. Two is most common, but you can encounter a team with three every now-and-then. There are also alternatives like Mega Sableye, Avalugg, etc. that can also play a role in hazard control, which is appreciated.

I have a couple example Defog cores that you will later notice are recurring on the teams I share and I think that these are just solid examples of being able to cover a vast majority of the hazard-setters in the tier, especially when paired with the things mentioned above. Core 1 is by far my most common core and probably the most consistent. This Mew is able to stomach 2 Specs Lele Moonblasts almost always while hard countering Z Heatran and being able to handle max SAtk Mega Diancie. All things considered, it is a ridiculously good utility fit on the teams I use it on and I am glad I figured out this spread when I did. The Zapdos is super standard, but quite effective nonetheless. Zapdos is close to a staple on stall due to some specific favorable MUs it brings to the table and, more importantly, the ability Pressure, letting it outstall things like Stealth Rock Clefable lacking Calm Mind or Toxic and the PP of so many moves. Core 2 is best on Mega Aggron stalls, specifically those with Wish Chansey or Wish Unaware Clefable. Regardless, it is pretty solid at covering as much as possible between just two Defoggers without any Mega Sableye support, but it is strapped in terms of other effectiveness, leading the brunt of the progress-making work outside of Knock/status/potential Gliscor SR to be left on the 4 remaining members. Just to go into a little detail, this Mew is a more PDef oriented set, geared towards stomaching a number of important physical hits and being a top-notch counter to Mega Medicham which is otherwise problematic to non-Mega Sableye stall. The Gliscor set is meant to maximize SDef presence, giving it 4-5% less damage taken by special moves than the normal max HP rest in SDef spread, thus making the odds vs Z Heatran go up significantly. Core 3 is only viable on Mega Sableye stalls, but it is quite good on teams of that sort.

Don't limit yourself to just these, but these are three effective examples of Defog cores that I have integrated into multiple teams in the past with success. I feel like Zapdos is the single best Defogger on stall teams and it should be on a vast majority of stalls, but Mew and Gliscor are also both strong options. Mew is great because it can be used in so many different ways, with the SDef variant in core 1 being a great example of how it can be used to fit a specific mold. Gliscor in general never dies with Poison Heal, can potentially provide Stealth Rock as well, and has a ton of super practical applications. Overall, covering the hazard metagame should be a top priority and if your stall team has noteworthy holes on this front, then odds are you are going to struggle in relevant match-ups to that hole.

FINALLY, and this is separate from Defog cores, there is more than just these things I outlined above to stall teams. However, these are all near essential/common components that I felt it was best to outline. From there, you need to identify what your team needs and what your team is weak to and fill out the remainder in the most optimal way you possibly can, just like building any other team but with the end goal being more drawn-out and stall oriented of course.

Example teams

Here is a visual of all of the stalls I have built and/or used since the start of Smogon Snake Draft II (since August, pretty much). Anyway, I will show the imports and provide explanations for a few of the stalls I have used the most in tournaments and then just share the remainder as I do not feel like sharing a specific mindset over a dozen individual teams, especially when a ton of it is repetitive/overlapping.

Before I go through the teams, YES EVERY STALL TEAM HAS A COUPLE UNAVOIDABLE WEAKNESSES. I hope I don't have to repeat this a million times throughout the next week. If I do, I will regret even going out of my way to make this post. It is an inherent risk of using the playstyle; there are some associated with most playstyles, especially the "extremes" of the metagame.

Import


This team is the team I used vs Hayburner during Smogon Snake Draft II. I will get into the replay as part of the replays section later, but for now I want to go through the team. This was my first Mega Aggron build, so it was a bit of a novel experience for me, making me want to explore every possible option to come up with the optimal supporting cast. I knew Hayburner had a history of using "cheese" and I was kind of paranoid after Kickasser used some Webs against me the week prior, so I decided it was time to consider Buzzwole (and Chesnaught, but that team never really saw the light of day). Buzz is great for blanket checking a number of PDef win conditions, which also takes a lot of stress off of my Unaware Pokemon. Some examples are Zygarde, Mega Heracross (I am using Toxic on this variant to help put it on a timer instead of losing the 1v1 with BU), most Kartana, Tapu Bulu, Mega Lopunny, and Mega Tyranitar. From there, I had Mega Aggron, Chansey (staple), and Buzzwole. I knew that I was vulnerable as all hell to hazards, so I threw on my best core of Defoggers to fit for size, which is the aforementioned Mew + Zapdos core that worked so well on a number of teams. Those two worked like a charm and then I just needed Unaware/set-up deterrent, which happened to be Quagsire as it provided me with a Ground type, it learned Haze which made me more comfortable against Reuniclus seeing as I lacked a Dark type, and it was a good fit for the team seeing as it can fit Toxic and my Chansey and Mega Aggron both lacked it. From there, the team was good to go. I tried to touch on the general roles and ideas behind adding each member, but throughout the process I also kept an eye on the list of threats to help decide Pokemon, moves, EVs, etc. I would be glad to answer any specific questions on those details, so feel free to ask here/over VM or PM, but I will not go into that much detail throughout this post as to not make it anymore of a novel.

Import


This is the team that I used vs Ramboss during Smogon Snake Draft II; this team was initially built to use against Posho and it was the first time I stalled a noteworthy tournament game since last Snake, so it sort of was the start of all of this. Instead of starting with Mega Sableye and working my way through, I actually want to say that the start of this team was the aforementioned Defog core of SDef Mew + Zapdos. This core has worked wonders for me so many times as I have alluded to on numerous occasions throughout this post and this is the origin of it. I knew these two plus an eventual Mega Sableye covered whatever I expected, so I threw on Mega Sableye for a few things, including added hazard control, and Chansey, which unfortunately needed SR + Heal Bell here, but sometimes that's what it has to come to. From there, I knew I needed a Mega Mawile check, an Unaware Pokemon/set-up deterrent, and ideally a Ground type over the next few Pokemon (actually, these roles + potentially having SR or Heal Bell to free up space on Chansey, but you will see this specific variant was not able to do that). Anyway, with all of these conditions in mind, I came up with all of these builds, of which the imports of the others will be shown later. I ultimately decided RH Tangrowth + Unaware Quagsire was the best fit for the opponent. The former provided great coverage for Zygarde, Kartana, and Mega Mawile given the set I was using. The latter of which provided a Ground type Unaware Pokemon with important utility moves such as Haze and Toxic.

OH yea before I forget! I made this amusing Google Doc before I played in case I grew uncertain about how to pilot stall seeing as this was my first big stall game in a while and I was not yet confident in my ability to play it, especially if things got more complex. HERE! It is absurdly long and tries to go in depth on every single potentially problematic Pokemon, which shows how fucking uncertain I was of myself going into that game tbh. Turns out I didn't really need it and I won the game without clicking on the tab once, but my MU was petty favorable. Anyway, this is a cool idea for beginners using their own stall teams. Try to write it out/play it out in your head, even if it is just for a small handful of Pokemon as opposed to the whole tier as I probably went pretty overboard here (ok yea 22 pages, I hella did lmao). Anyway, stuff like this being integrated into an approach to give you an extra layer of confidence is cool and I love hearing about how other tournament players approach their games, so I figured including a bit of my personal process for a first stall game could be intriguing for those who are trying to get into it themselves, so i hope this helped, even if it is just to the slightest extent.

Import


This is probably my favorite stall overall and it is the team I have used the most besides the two above that I used in official tournament games. Overall, it has been my go-to when I knew I wanted to stall someone in SmogonTour, but did not have a read on them as to what specific variant of other stall may be the play. Anyway, this team has one admittedly annoying flaw: lack of a Ground type. Tapu Koko is nearing an all-time-low and even then it uses U-turn over Volt Switch almost always, so that's not a big deal, but even then, it or AV Magearna + an annoying Pokemon will require some outplaying as opposed to laid back counterplay like normally, so keep this in mind when piloting this in those specific MUs. The team itself is meant to play a bit like the Ciele/ILovePinkMons stall did back in the hay day of SM, which is why I love it so much in SmogTour and even on the ladder occasionally. Mega Aggron + 2 Wish passers was the idea, leading me to Clefable + Alomomola, both of which helped a ton with Mega Medicham, too (Mola is RH, Clef is just a natural check), which is annoying to non-Mega Sableye stall. Anyway, I don't want to repeat the process as I did above twice already, but same old same old with the Defoggers and the dual wish core was integrated as the initial idea with Mega Aggron as I alluded to above, so from there it is just Chansey as always and picking the optimal sets for the team, which came with some threat-list analysis and trial-and-error on the ladder. This team is probably the most "fun" of any stall team to play for me and I say that entirely seriously -- I actually do enjoy playing stall, who would've thought? Certainly not me ~6 months ago. But anyway, here we are and here's the team!

Here are a bunch of other teams that I have just built or used, but much less than these three:
Do note that in the replays later on in the post, some moves may be different. I CStyled specific opponents who had problematic trends as to make sure I was not in danger whenever I had time to check replays. These imports are what I deem to be consistent variants of each team (or as consistent as possible, anyway). Feel free to change as you please anyway, of course.

How-to-play / Example games

First thing is first: I love this subforum, I love to help people, and I love this community. I do not love torture, however. Therefore, instead of going through replay-after-replay and analyzing specific plays/sequences, I will go over some general thoughts/guidelines on piloting stall and then provide example replays that you guys can use to try to connect it all together if you would like to. What you do with this post is totally up to you, but I will provide what is necessary to at least get a grasp given my abilities to help. Given that, here are some personal tips to playing stall:
  • Information: Use any and all information you get from your opponents team/play. One piece of information, which can be as small as an EV spread or individual move, can lead to you figuring out multiple full sets/spreads. Once you have their team generally plotted out, you know exactly what you need and how you can best go about walling it, making progress, not compromising your collective defensive presences, and avoiding any potential instances of getting unlucky to lose in favorable match-ups. The information war is huge. If you are playing stall, it is almost nice to not disclose things purposely in some more drawn out scenarios if possible, especially if your opponent is well-versed in the metagame or playing stall. If you are the stall player, use whatever you know to piece the opponent's team together. From there, you can gameplan. PSA: USE THE FUCKING DAMAGE CALC ON ANYTHING YOU CAN PLEASE STOP BEING SO SLOPPY @ THE ENTIRE NEW GENERATION OF POCKET MONSTERS PLAYERS FFS
  • Gameplanning: Sometimes, this can be done at team preview without much hesitation. Sometimes, it can be done partially then and then fully once you know more about their team/sets/spreads. And sometimes almost all of it is delayed until a later point when things are sufficiently felt out, if it is not too late and the early game was not too costly. This entirely depends on the opponent and their match-up, which makes sense seeing how reactionary a playstyle stall truly is. Anyway, your goal is to find a way to optimally prevent them from being able to break through significant members of your team/your team as a whole or at least have good odds to break you. It oftentimes becomes cyclical and repetitive in practice, but understanding how to plot a long-term gameplan and executing it is vital for a successful stall player. Your gameplan should also include methods of actually making progress, especially against durable opposing teams. Oftentimes, this centers around stuff as small as keeping rocks up for specific periods/sequences, stalling out specific moves PP so that a Pokemon can no longer threaten one of yours, or conditioning your opponent into a repetitive neutral sequence so that you can eventually take advantage with a more aggressive pivot thrown in to let you do damage, set hazards, status something, etc. This is all largely game dependent, but also insanely important to actually winning games as playing stall is rarely just trying to get the game to physically stall out for hundreds of turns.
  • Prioritizing: Arguably a part of gameplanning, but also something that should just generally be of note to people playing stall. You need to know when to push a specific issue in the game and when to back off. You need to know when it is appropriate to stray from your normal sequences/lines of counterplay and when it is not appropriate to do so. You need to be able to gauge risk-vs-reward in a short term and long term fashion if you want to play drawn out games optimally. This probably sounds like some mumbo-jumbo mixture of a fortune cookie and an introductory level investments lecture right about now, but trust me it all has meaning and it will save your ass. There are ALWAYS going to be things you need to win the game when using stall, oftentimes the same things each time. There are SOMETIMES, however, going to be things you can risk in a timely, practical, and calculated fashion that may give you a leg up. Be it through setting SR up, getting an extra status, maybe forcing a trade? who knows, but if you can figure out what you need, what you can play a bit less conservatively, and what gives you some leverage for prediction/middlegrounds/getting the opponent a bit too caught up in their own plays to the point where they later second guess themselves...these things may very well be present in your battle and you need to make the absolute most of them to win vs good players in non-favorable MUs. Make note of this, try to decipher what this means to you, and try to figure out what it means in the context of specific games and you will find yourself maximizing your odds more often than not.
  • Details: Health, PP, EV spreads, items, status, etc. -- do not forget any of these things. This is going to be brief and to the point. Newer players often overlook specific routes to victory for more common, generally effective ones they frequent in other match-ups with other archetypes. This is not going to get you very far with stall. You need to pay attention to each and every last detail, especially with regards to PP and EV spreads. That helps decipher some information above, get you to a point where you can make progress in your gameplan, etc. This stuff is all intertwined after all as it is the same game of Pokemon, but please do yourself a favor and be careful, pay attention to the details, and do NOT click.
There is so much more that can be said, but these points stood out to me, especially for when it comes to trying to explain things to likely OU Subforum frequents who may lack experience playing stall. I would be glad to elaborate or go into more depth on anything, so feel free to hmu anytime. Here are some replays:
I'd be fine going through a battle here-or-there just to explain my specific mindset, gameplan, priorities, etc., so feel free to contact me individually if you would like, but going through multiple and doing so consistently or all in this post for the sake of showcasing my thought process feels like it'd be way too much, so for now I'll leave it at that.

Tiering implications

I was not sure if I wanted to include this section or not, but I think it is for the best. I think that stall has potential to be ridiculously good, even if people will likely adapt to it more-and-more over time if it gains traction. Do I think there is a chance that we could be in another position where stall is good enough to warrant some sort of suspect in the future? Maybe, it is not impossible. I would 100% not support a suspect of anything stall related currently, however. I would love to see more people experiment with stall, perhaps even find the next BIG stall during SPL/STour playoffs/OST or something. That could put it over the edge -- who knows? Certainly not me! Regardless, I think that this is something the general public needs to take more seriously and try out more as it is being overlooked a ton right now. I think that SM has a lot of evolving left to do and some of that can be found within the stall archetype, so hopefully this post and the resources provided throughout it can help provoke a more diverse metagame full of playerbase realization and perhaps the evolution of SM OU as we know it.

s/o mortimer the mighty bagon for the inspiration, finch out
You forgot to mention how to not get 6-0d but hoopa c in there. which i guess ur just gonna take ls on that mon lmao. which is fine I guess lmao. just didnt wanna not mention that
 
The best core against most stall teams is mega sabeye/regen mon and scarf ditto

Ditto ultimately always breaks the other stall team if they dont have a set up sweeper that their own team can wall, sub abuser, or if they don't have more than just rocks up

It also has more hp than sabeye
 

Finchinator

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Is there a reason you dont talk about or use Toxapex Finch?
Toxapex is hard to fit onto stall; it is possible, but it is more of a luxury and the structures I find to be the most consistent cannot afford to fit it. An example of a Toxapex stall team can be found here; however, this team pretty much bends over to any Tapu Lele, struggles even more than normal teams against Mega Tyranitar/Mega Diancie, and has a bit less reliable of a core of hazard removers than I personally feel comfortable with. It is a great help with Regenerator and being able to status/wall/provide utility in numerous contexts, but it is a trade-off that I oftentimes find to not be worthwhile when it comes to compromising overall team effectiveness/consistency.
 
Stall in SM OU

Hey everyone. As many of you know, I have started to frequent stall in recent months. I feel like this archetype is not only ridiculously underrated in the current metagame, but also not fully understood by the playerbase, so I am making a post to try and raise exposure/understanding, provoke discussion, and hopefully help evolve the metagame as we know it.

I feel that the best way to approach this would be to break down the elements of stall teams themselves, explaining why they are what they are and perhaps piecing the puzzle together in the head of people who are less experienced with the archetype. I would also like to show some example teams/games to put it all out there and give some context. Finally, I want to discuss potential tiering implications that stall has on the metagame. Given that, I am going to break down this post into four parts:
  • Components of stall teams
  • Example teams
  • How-to-play / Example games
  • Tiering implications
Components of stall teams

Chansey


Chansey is the single most common Pokemon on stall teams currently. It has been this way for all of SM to be honest, but you can put specific emphasis on this recently seeing as more and more stall teams have been exploring options other than Mega Sableye, which used to be a staple. I feel it would be very hard, if not impossible, to create a stall team that lacks Chansey and can still be considered optimal. Chansey is of such vital importance because it has absurd bulk, especially on the special side, coupled with only being weak to Fighting types, having a great utility movepool, and being able to at least tinker with progress-making thanks to Seismic Toss and Toxic being viable options. While Chansey itself is oftentimes strapped for moves, being able to fit Toxic makes it significantly more effective and less passive. Stealth Rock and Heal Bell are on almost every stall team and Chansey is often needed for one or both. If you can give these to other Pokemon, then you will not only diversify your team and perhaps make a lot of match-ups less dependent on singular conditions, but you will also get the most out of your Chansey, which is beneficial. Anyway, I am going to assume that people understand the basic functions of Chansey, letting me move on from this and not go on-and-on about how many things it covers and how practical it is for these teams.

Mega slot


First and foremost, a mega is NOT mandatory on stall, let alone one of these two. It is plausible to make megaless stall that is optimal, but the match-up trade-offs are something that a user of these teams should be smart about. All of the teams I personally frequent and will be sharing have a mega and they all are either Sableye or Aggron, so I will proceed with my experiences and insight on these two. However, be sure not to limit yourself with your own builds/experimenting with stall if you wish to expand your horizons further than I currently have done so as an individual.

Mega Sableye is easily the most common mega evolution on stall and perhaps the third most common Pokemon on the archetype overall, behind Chansey and Zapdos. Mega Sableye is ridiculously practical on stall teams thanks to the ability Magic Bounce, letting it work in conjunction with Defog/Rapid Spin cores to assure that hazards are kept off the field as much as possible. Oftentimes, hazards being up combined with specific threats, switching sequences being provoked, or a combination of the two leads to the downfall of stall. Checks and counters only remain checks and counters if they are kept somewhat healthy, which hazards being up consistently can easily prevent. Therefore, one of the clear priorities of stall is to have consistent covergae of the hazard metagame, which is where Mega Sableye comes in to play. Non-Z Heatran, Gliscor, Non-Z Landorus-T, Ferrothorn, Hippowdon, RH Garchomp, Chansey, some Protean Greninja, and Mega Aggron can almost never set up hazards if facing a well-played Mega Sableye stall, thus making the match-up ridiculously more favorable than it otherwise would be. On top of this, Pokemon that are capable of setting up Stealth Rock regardless due to their effectiveness against Mega Sableye, such as Mega Diancie, Clefable, Z Heatran, Z Landorus-T, Ash Greninja, Mega Tyranitar, and Z Garchomp, still have to think twice before clicking a hazard setting move in confidence due to Mega Sableye's presence and also honestly the presence of Mega Sableye has bolstered the viability of a number of these hazard setters, attesting to how viable it is.

Mega Aggron is far less defined in its roll than Mega Sableye, perhaps showing why it is not only less common, but also seen as more of a niche option given its current place in the viability rankings in C rank. With this said, it is a naturally strong and durable Pokemon, making it very worthwhile in certain contexts. Mega Aggron is perhaps the best counter the game has to offer to non-Focus Punch Mega Mawile, Mega Aggron is able to 1v1 any non-Z Fire Heatran, Mega Aggron pressures cores with Clefable, Tornadus-Therian, and/or Toxapex while also setting up Stealth Rock, thus making it super helpful when it comes to actually winning games, and Mega Aggron when given Wish support is able to turn a lot of difficult situations into manageable ones given proper execution (general sentiment, but still holds true and examples will be provided in replays later). For more on Mega Aggron and what it provides, I would advise reading this post and the one above it.

Unaware / Set-up deterrents


This slot is super straightforward, so hopefully everyone will understand it. Anyway, to briefly go over it: stall teams allow turns to opposing win conditions often due to the lack of consistent pressure they apply. Therefore, these Pokemon can set-up and try to sweep, but Unaware Pokemon can oftentimes thwart those efforts if used properly. Magearna is also listed as it functions in a similar fashion, but I will touch on this more later.

Quagsire is my favorite Unaware Pokemon because it doubles as a Ground type, proving to be very valuable in blocking Volt Switch and just having a generally helpful defensive presence. Overall, Quagsire has respectable utility with Haze and Toxic, making it less passive than it may seem to be. Scald is also a clear asset as the prospect of a burn makes a lot of things think twice about switching in comfortably.

Pyukumuku has seen much better days in the past, but is still a viable Unaware Pokemon. It was much more common on stall earlier in 2018, but you still see it pop up here-and-there. Pyukumuku is a merciless bastard to opposing teams that have specific win conditions that may otherwise do well against stall; with Block + Spite + Rest, Pyukumuku can eliminate entire specific Pokemon that stay in against it while just sitting there sleeping. It is the most passive piece of shit, but it has enough bulk and the right moves to eliminate specific win conditions, so it is a viable option.

Clefable is personally my second favorite Unaware Pokemon; Unaware Clefable is objectively worse than Magic Guard seeing as it takes status and hazard damage, which is basically everything... BUT it still is viable as it gets the job done against a lot of common bulky set-up. In addition, it also provides support to team members by being able to pass Wishes and if you elect to use Calm Mind or Toxic then it can be a lot less passive than it may initially seem to be, which is helpful for trying to make progress.

Magearna does not get the ability Unaware, BUT it does get Heart Swap and this is great against Calm Mind Clefable, Calm Mind Reuniclus, Calm Mind/Shift Gear Magearna, Calm Mind Mega Latias, Calm Mind Tapu Lele, Serperior, etc. Honestly, Magearna is a great Pokemon to have because it gives to a cleric, momentum grabber, decent balanced presence, AND it helps with a number of problematic boosters, including some that Unaware Pokemon can struggle with (i.e: specific Z Reuniclus variants, Calm Mind + Stored Power Clefable, Serperior, and Tapu Lele). Overall, Magearna can not fit on every stall team and more often than not you will want to use an actual Unaware Pokemon like Quagsire, but there are semi-likely circumstances that call for Magearna and these teams are much more versatile in terms of gameplay options given how resourceful Magearna is as a Pokemon I feel.

Defog cores


First and foremost, there are more viable Defoggers than these four. I don't even use Moltres at all myself, but it has been a viable option ever since the WCOP Finals tiebreak game where Bro Fist showed it off, so I wanted to include its little sprite above. Anyway, aside from this group depicted above, viable Defoggers on stall include: literally anything that gets Defog that you feel improves your team more than the alternatives if slotted on it. Do not try to limit yourself when building/testing stall. I would love to see the archetype diversify and new options tried out in the future, so go nuts!

Anyway, instead of going singular Pokemon by Pokemon, I feel like I will be a bit more direct and practical with this explanation. The goal of your Defog core is primarily to assure that you can consistently keep the hazards set by common hazard setters in the metagame off. If this is by threatening the setters out, thus letting you Defog freely, or simply outlasting them thanks to PP/Pressure does not matter, but the task must be done as effectively as possible for a stall team to have the necessary durability to function consistently. Normally, teams have multiple Defog users. Two is most common, but you can encounter a team with three every now-and-then. There are also alternatives like Mega Sableye, Avalugg, etc. that can also play a role in hazard control, which is appreciated.

I have a couple example Defog cores that you will later notice are recurring on the teams I share and I think that these are just solid examples of being able to cover a vast majority of the hazard-setters in the tier, especially when paired with the things mentioned above. Core 1 is by far my most common core and probably the most consistent. This Mew is able to stomach 2 Specs Lele Moonblasts almost always while hard countering Z Heatran and being able to handle max SAtk Mega Diancie. All things considered, it is a ridiculously good utility fit on the teams I use it on and I am glad I figured out this spread when I did. The Zapdos is super standard, but quite effective nonetheless. Zapdos is close to a staple on stall due to some specific favorable MUs it brings to the table and, more importantly, the ability Pressure, letting it outstall things like Stealth Rock Clefable lacking Calm Mind or Toxic and the PP of so many moves. Core 2 is best on Mega Aggron stalls, specifically those with Wish Chansey or Wish Unaware Clefable. Regardless, it is pretty solid at covering as much as possible between just two Defoggers without any Mega Sableye support, but it is strapped in terms of other effectiveness, leading the brunt of the progress-making work outside of Knock/status/potential Gliscor SR to be left on the 4 remaining members. Just to go into a little detail, this Mew is a more PDef oriented set, geared towards stomaching a number of important physical hits and being a top-notch counter to Mega Medicham which is otherwise problematic to non-Mega Sableye stall. The Gliscor set is meant to maximize SDef presence, giving it 4-5% less damage taken by special moves than the normal max HP rest in SDef spread, thus making the odds vs Z Heatran go up significantly. Core 3 is only viable on Mega Sableye stalls, but it is quite good on teams of that sort.

Don't limit yourself to just these, but these are three effective examples of Defog cores that I have integrated into multiple teams in the past with success. I feel like Zapdos is the single best Defogger on stall teams and it should be on a vast majority of stalls, but Mew and Gliscor are also both strong options. Mew is great because it can be used in so many different ways, with the SDef variant in core 1 being a great example of how it can be used to fit a specific mold. Gliscor in general never dies with Poison Heal, can potentially provide Stealth Rock as well, and has a ton of super practical applications. Overall, covering the hazard metagame should be a top priority and if your stall team has noteworthy holes on this front, then odds are you are going to struggle in relevant match-ups to that hole.

FINALLY, and this is separate from Defog cores, there is more than just these things I outlined above to stall teams. However, these are all near essential/common components that I felt it was best to outline. From there, you need to identify what your team needs and what your team is weak to and fill out the remainder in the most optimal way you possibly can, just like building any other team but with the end goal being more drawn-out and stall oriented of course.

Example teams

Here is a visual of all of the stalls I have built and/or used since the start of Smogon Snake Draft II (since August, pretty much). Anyway, I will show the imports and provide explanations for a few of the stalls I have used the most in tournaments and then just share the remainder as I do not feel like sharing a specific mindset over a dozen individual teams, especially when a ton of it is repetitive/overlapping.

Before I go through the teams, YES EVERY STALL TEAM HAS A COUPLE UNAVOIDABLE WEAKNESSES. I hope I don't have to repeat this a million times throughout the next week. If I do, I will regret even going out of my way to make this post. It is an inherent risk of using the playstyle; there are some associated with most playstyles, especially the "extremes" of the metagame.

Import


This team is the team I used vs Hayburner during Smogon Snake Draft II. I will get into the replay as part of the replays section later, but for now I want to go through the team. This was my first Mega Aggron build, so it was a bit of a novel experience for me, making me want to explore every possible option to come up with the optimal supporting cast. I knew Hayburner had a history of using "cheese" and I was kind of paranoid after Kickasser used some Webs against me the week prior, so I decided it was time to consider Buzzwole (and Chesnaught, but that team never really saw the light of day). Buzz is great for blanket checking a number of PDef win conditions, which also takes a lot of stress off of my Unaware Pokemon. Some examples are Zygarde, Mega Heracross (I am using Toxic on this variant to help put it on a timer instead of losing the 1v1 with BU), most Kartana, Tapu Bulu, Mega Lopunny, and Mega Tyranitar. From there, I had Mega Aggron, Chansey (staple), and Buzzwole. I knew that I was vulnerable as all hell to hazards, so I threw on my best core of Defoggers to fit for size, which is the aforementioned Mew + Zapdos core that worked so well on a number of teams. Those two worked like a charm and then I just needed Unaware/set-up deterrent, which happened to be Quagsire as it provided me with a Ground type, it learned Haze which made me more comfortable against Reuniclus seeing as I lacked a Dark type, and it was a good fit for the team seeing as it can fit Toxic and my Chansey and Mega Aggron both lacked it. From there, the team was good to go. I tried to touch on the general roles and ideas behind adding each member, but throughout the process I also kept an eye on the list of threats to help decide Pokemon, moves, EVs, etc. I would be glad to answer any specific questions on those details, so feel free to ask here/over VM or PM, but I will not go into that much detail throughout this post as to not make it anymore of a novel.

Import


This is the team that I used vs Ramboss during Smogon Snake Draft II; this team was initially built to use against Posho and it was the first time I stalled a noteworthy tournament game since last Snake, so it sort of was the start of all of this. Instead of starting with Mega Sableye and working my way through, I actually want to say that the start of this team was the aforementioned Defog core of SDef Mew + Zapdos. This core has worked wonders for me so many times as I have alluded to on numerous occasions throughout this post and this is the origin of it. I knew these two plus an eventual Mega Sableye covered whatever I expected, so I threw on Mega Sableye for a few things, including added hazard control, and Chansey, which unfortunately needed SR + Heal Bell here, but sometimes that's what it has to come to. From there, I knew I needed a Mega Mawile check, an Unaware Pokemon/set-up deterrent, and ideally a Ground type over the next few Pokemon (actually, these roles + potentially having SR or Heal Bell to free up space on Chansey, but you will see this specific variant was not able to do that). Anyway, with all of these conditions in mind, I came up with all of these builds, of which the imports of the others will be shown later. I ultimately decided RH Tangrowth + Unaware Quagsire was the best fit for the opponent. The former provided great coverage for Zygarde, Kartana, and Mega Mawile given the set I was using. The latter of which provided a Ground type Unaware Pokemon with important utility moves such as Haze and Toxic.

OH yea before I forget! I made this amusing Google Doc before I played in case I grew uncertain about how to pilot stall seeing as this was my first big stall game in a while and I was not yet confident in my ability to play it, especially if things got more complex. HERE! It is absurdly long and tries to go in depth on every single potentially problematic Pokemon, which shows how fucking uncertain I was of myself going into that game tbh. Turns out I didn't really need it and I won the game without clicking on the tab once, but my MU was petty favorable. Anyway, this is a cool idea for beginners using their own stall teams. Try to write it out/play it out in your head, even if it is just for a small handful of Pokemon as opposed to the whole tier as I probably went pretty overboard here (ok yea 22 pages, I hella did lmao). Anyway, stuff like this being integrated into an approach to give you an extra layer of confidence is cool and I love hearing about how other tournament players approach their games, so I figured including a bit of my personal process for a first stall game could be intriguing for those who are trying to get into it themselves, so i hope this helped, even if it is just to the slightest extent.

Import


This is probably my favorite stall overall and it is the team I have used the most besides the two above that I used in official tournament games. Overall, it has been my go-to when I knew I wanted to stall someone in SmogonTour, but did not have a read on them as to what specific variant of other stall may be the play. Anyway, this team has one admittedly annoying flaw: lack of a Ground type. Tapu Koko is nearing an all-time-low and even then it uses U-turn over Volt Switch almost always, so that's not a big deal, but even then, it or AV Magearna + an annoying Pokemon will require some outplaying as opposed to laid back counterplay like normally, so keep this in mind when piloting this in those specific MUs. The team itself is meant to play a bit like the Ciele/ILovePinkMons stall did back in the hay day of SM, which is why I love it so much in SmogTour and even on the ladder occasionally. Mega Aggron + 2 Wish passers was the idea, leading me to Clefable + Alomomola, both of which helped a ton with Mega Medicham, too (Mola is RH, Clef is just a natural check), which is annoying to non-Mega Sableye stall. Anyway, I don't want to repeat the process as I did above twice already, but same old same old with the Defoggers and the dual wish core was integrated as the initial idea with Mega Aggron as I alluded to above, so from there it is just Chansey as always and picking the optimal sets for the team, which came with some threat-list analysis and trial-and-error on the ladder. This team is probably the most "fun" of any stall team to play for me and I say that entirely seriously -- I actually do enjoy playing stall, who would've thought? Certainly not me ~6 months ago. But anyway, here we are and here's the team!

Here are a bunch of other teams that I have just built or used, but much less than these three:
Do note that in the replays later on in the post, some moves may be different. I CStyled specific opponents who had problematic trends as to make sure I was not in danger whenever I had time to check replays. These imports are what I deem to be consistent variants of each team (or as consistent as possible, anyway). Feel free to change as you please anyway, of course.

How-to-play / Example games

First thing is first: I love this subforum, I love to help people, and I love this community. I do not love torture, however. Therefore, instead of going through replay-after-replay and analyzing specific plays/sequences, I will go over some general thoughts/guidelines on piloting stall and then provide example replays that you guys can use to try to connect it all together if you would like to. What you do with this post is totally up to you, but I will provide what is necessary to at least get a grasp given my abilities to help. Given that, here are some personal tips to playing stall:
  • Information: Use any and all information you get from your opponents team/play. One piece of information, which can be as small as an EV spread or individual move, can lead to you figuring out multiple full sets/spreads. Once you have their team generally plotted out, you know exactly what you need and how you can best go about walling it, making progress, not compromising your collective defensive presences, and avoiding any potential instances of getting unlucky to lose in favorable match-ups. The information war is huge. If you are playing stall, it is almost nice to not disclose things purposely in some more drawn out scenarios if possible, especially if your opponent is well-versed in the metagame or playing stall. If you are the stall player, use whatever you know to piece the opponent's team together. From there, you can gameplan. PSA: USE THE FUCKING DAMAGE CALC ON ANYTHING YOU CAN PLEASE STOP BEING SO SLOPPY @ THE ENTIRE NEW GENERATION OF POCKET MONSTERS PLAYERS FFS
  • Gameplanning: Sometimes, this can be done at team preview without much hesitation. Sometimes, it can be done partially then and then fully once you know more about their team/sets/spreads. And sometimes almost all of it is delayed until a later point when things are sufficiently felt out, if it is not too late and the early game was not too costly. This entirely depends on the opponent and their match-up, which makes sense seeing how reactionary a playstyle stall truly is. Anyway, your goal is to find a way to optimally prevent them from being able to break through significant members of your team/your team as a whole or at least have good odds to break you. It oftentimes becomes cyclical and repetitive in practice, but understanding how to plot a long-term gameplan and executing it is vital for a successful stall player. Your gameplan should also include methods of actually making progress, especially against durable opposing teams. Oftentimes, this centers around stuff as small as keeping rocks up for specific periods/sequences, stalling out specific moves PP so that a Pokemon can no longer threaten one of yours, or conditioning your opponent into a repetitive neutral sequence so that you can eventually take advantage with a more aggressive pivot thrown in to let you do damage, set hazards, status something, etc. This is all largely game dependent, but also insanely important to actually winning games as playing stall is rarely just trying to get the game to physically stall out for hundreds of turns.
  • Prioritizing: Arguably a part of gameplanning, but also something that should just generally be of note to people playing stall. You need to know when to push a specific issue in the game and when to back off. You need to know when it is appropriate to stray from your normal sequences/lines of counterplay and when it is not appropriate to do so. You need to be able to gauge risk-vs-reward in a short term and long term fashion if you want to play drawn out games optimally. This probably sounds like some mumbo-jumbo mixture of a fortune cookie and an introductory level investments lecture right about now, but trust me it all has meaning and it will save your ass. There are ALWAYS going to be things you need to win the game when using stall, oftentimes the same things each time. There are SOMETIMES, however, going to be things you can risk in a timely, practical, and calculated fashion that may give you a leg up. Be it through setting SR up, getting an extra status, maybe forcing a trade? who knows, but if you can figure out what you need, what you can play a bit less conservatively, and what gives you some leverage for prediction/middlegrounds/getting the opponent a bit too caught up in their own plays to the point where they later second guess themselves...these things may very well be present in your battle and you need to make the absolute most of them to win vs good players in non-favorable MUs. Make note of this, try to decipher what this means to you, and try to figure out what it means in the context of specific games and you will find yourself maximizing your odds more often than not.
  • Details: Health, PP, EV spreads, items, status, etc. -- do not forget any of these things. This is going to be brief and to the point. Newer players often overlook specific routes to victory for more common, generally effective ones they frequent in other match-ups with other archetypes. This is not going to get you very far with stall. You need to pay attention to each and every last detail, especially with regards to PP and EV spreads. That helps decipher some information above, get you to a point where you can make progress in your gameplan, etc. This stuff is all intertwined after all as it is the same game of Pokemon, but please do yourself a favor and be careful, pay attention to the details, and do NOT click.
There is so much more that can be said, but these points stood out to me, especially for when it comes to trying to explain things to likely OU Subforum frequents who may lack experience playing stall. I would be glad to elaborate or go into more depth on anything, so feel free to hmu anytime. Here are some replays:
I'd be fine going through a battle here-or-there just to explain my specific mindset, gameplan, priorities, etc., so feel free to contact me individually if you would like, but going through multiple and doing so consistently or all in this post for the sake of showcasing my thought process feels like it'd be way too much, so for now I'll leave it at that.

Tiering implications

I was not sure if I wanted to include this section or not, but I think it is for the best. I think that stall has potential to be ridiculously good, even if people will likely adapt to it more-and-more over time if it gains traction. Do I think there is a chance that we could be in another position where stall is good enough to warrant some sort of suspect in the future? Maybe, it is not impossible. I would 100% not support a suspect of anything stall related currently, however. I would love to see more people experiment with stall, perhaps even find the next BIG stall during SPL/STour playoffs/OST or something. That could put it over the edge -- who knows? Certainly not me! Regardless, I think that this is something the general public needs to take more seriously and try out more as it is being overlooked a ton right now. I think that SM has a lot of evolving left to do and some of that can be found within the stall archetype, so hopefully this post and the resources provided throughout it can help provoke a more diverse metagame full of playerbase realization and perhaps the evolution of SM OU as we know it.

s/o mortimer the mighty bagon for the inspiration, finch out
Nice writeup on stall, I'm curious in USUM what is generally used to break stall. I've been relying a strategy of z-move my way through whatever is preventing my team from doing its thing and proceeding from there. This is of course a pretty unstable strategy as if they predict z-move I've pretty much lost. Furthermore even if I get the z-move ko, it is still a tough battle as 5 mon stall teams are still tough to break although manageable.

Back in ORAS I would spam manaphy/togekiss on every team, but one togekiss is shit in any matchup that isn't stall and two manaphy doesn't reliably break stall in USUM with the glut of viable unaware users in addition to just quag (Clef was a rare sight in ORAS Stall).
 
Nice writeup on stall, I'm curious in USUM what is generally used to break stall. I've been relying a strategy of z-move my way through whatever is preventing my team from doing its thing and proceeding from there. This is of course a pretty unstable strategy as if they predict z-move I've pretty much lost. Furthermore even if I get the z-move ko, it is still a tough battle as 5 mon stall teams are still tough to break although manageable.

Back in ORAS I would spam manaphy/togekiss on every team, but one togekiss is shit in any matchup that isn't stall and two manaphy doesn't reliably break stall in USUM with the glut of viable unaware users in addition to just quag (Clef was a rare sight in ORAS Stall).
https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/usum-metagame-discussion.3621042/page-26#post-7953238

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some examples like sub cm blacephalon has a good mu vs most stall usually and can win the game if played right. cm tapu lele with z/mind plate/metronome can run over certain stall teams w/o alolan muk/jirachi/magearna/mega aggron
 

Talah

3 in the mornin yawnin, dancin under street lights
is a Community Contributor
So I was wondering, what do people think about possibly giving Necrozma-DW a test? Compared to Hoopa-U, it's slightly slower, less powerful and with arguably worse typing. Unlike Hoopa it can't run both physical and Special sets, it loses to Tyranitar (Earth Power doesn't OHKO, while Crunch / Pursuit always do) and without Psyshock it can't scratch Chansey. It does have Rock Polish, unlike Hoopa, though it has to run a Timid Nature to outrun stuff like Scarf Kartana.
CURRENT.png
 
https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/usum-metagame-discussion.3621042/page-26#post-7953238

View attachment 144690

some examples like sub cm blacephalon has a good mu vs most stall usually and can win the game if played right. cm tapu lele with z/mind plate/metronome can run over certain stall teams w/o alolan muk/jirachi/magearna/mega aggron
Hi, thanks for the reply. I was hoping for a little bit more of a substantive conversation. In my experience against a standard sab/chans/unaware user is that you can't accomplish anything unless you net a ko on one of those three. Setup sweepers that can overpower a stall team get blocked by the unaware user. Taunt based mons and status/hazard mons that can't beat sab are as good as useless until its dead. And chansey is just a bastard. Now once that first ko is accomplished there's a hole in the team that can be exploited. However that first ko is hard to come by and stall teams are designed to combat team support strategies such as hazard stacking or check weakening. Currently I'm relying on z-move to open that hole, which as previously mentioned is unstable.

Furthermore I'm looking for mons/strategies that are not a liability in other matchups. Togekiss can still raise holy hell against stall with its stall-killer set but it is going to be dead weight in 90+% of other matchups. Sub CM blace is awesome against stall, but lackluster against most other teams. I'd also like to avoid constraining my mega slot to only gyara, cross or maw.
 
Hi, thanks for the reply. I was hoping for a little bit more of a substantive conversation. In my experience against a standard sab/chans/unaware user is that you can't accomplish anything unless you net a ko on one of those three. Setup sweepers that can overpower a stall team get blocked by the unaware user. Taunt based mons and status/hazard mons that can't beat sab are as good as useless until its dead. And chansey is just a bastard. Now once that first ko is accomplished there's a hole in the team that can be exploited. However that first ko is hard to come by and stall teams are designed to combat team support strategies such as hazard stacking or check weakening. Currently I'm relying on z-move to open that hole, which as previously mentioned is unstable.

Furthermore I'm looking for mons/strategies that are not a liability in other matchups. Togekiss can still raise holy hell against stall with its stall-killer set but it is going to be dead weight in 90+% of other matchups. Sub CM blace is awesome against stall, but lackluster against most other teams. I'd also like to avoid constraining my mega slot to only gyara, cross or maw.
few examples lele isnt deadweight in 90% of other matchups cm sets can claim multiple kos still vs other teams. vs any stall team not running magearna/jirachi/alola muk, simply lead lele turn 1 and cm on sableyes protect and press psyshock on the incoming chansey. theyre going to take over 60% and u can go from there and weaken their entire team for something else to eventually win. as for blacephalon theres a sample ho team by xtrashine that uses sub cm blacephalon ive tried the team out a bit, blacephalon isnt deadweight vs non stall teams. im sure other ppl have tried that team and can agree with this 1. besides lele and blacephalon, more unorthodox stuff like taunt synthesis leaf storm serperior for example can also wreck stall.

I've been relying a strategy of z-move my way through whatever is preventing my team from doing its thing and proceeding from there. This is of course a pretty unstable strategy as if they predict z-move I've pretty much lost.

Back in ORAS I would spam manaphy/togekiss on every team, but one togekiss is shit in any matchup that isn't stall and two manaphy doesn't reliably break stall in USUM with the glut of viable unaware users in addition to just quag (Clef was a rare sight in ORAS Stall).
the point is u dont need a z move necessarily to break stall. theres plenty of stallbreakers out there and u can customise their sets to give u a chance vs stall and some of these guys arent deadweight vs other teams either.

ps. togekiss is a bad stallbreaker imo coz all the recent builds ive seen run zapdos. ur gna need to be really lucky to get past that w/o getting hit by a discharge. and manaphy is capable of breaking stall under the right circumstances with the z rain dance set. i dont have any replays with me coz tbh i havnt used it that much but ive seen it being done.
 
few examples lele isnt deadweight in 90% of other matchups cm sets can claim multiple kos still vs other teams. vs any stall team not running magearna/jirachi/alola muk, simply lead lele turn 1 and cm on sableyes protect and press psyshock on the incoming chansey. theyre going to take over 60% and u can go from there and weaken their entire team for something else to eventually win. as for blacephalon theres a sample ho team by xtrashine that uses sub cm blacephalon ive tried the team out a bit, blacephalon isnt deadweight vs non stall teams. im sure other ppl have tried that team and can agree with this 1. besides lele and blacephalon, more unorthodox stuff like taunt synthesis leaf storm serperior for example can also wreck stall.



the point is u dont need a z move necessarily to break stall. theres plenty of stallbreakers out there and u can customise their sets to give u a chance vs stall and some of these guys arent deadweight vs other teams either.

ps. togekiss is a bad stallbreaker imo coz all the recent builds ive seen run zapdos. ur gna need to be really lucky to get past that w/o getting hit by a discharge. and manaphy is capable of breaking stall under the right circumstances with the z rain dance set. i dont have any replays with me coz tbh i havnt used it that much but ive seen it being done.
Thanks I think I'll give CM Lele a try.

It doesn't matter whether Togekiss is a good or bad stall killer in USUM (it was like 100% victory against stall in ORAS), I was using it as an example of a mon that excelled against stall but was too shitty to use on a team. I still hate calm mind blace. Too slow for its frailty.
 

Demi Lovato

formerly MikeDawg
I still hate calm mind blace. Too slow for its frailty.
Remember though that it's EVd to boost speed instead of a special attack when it gets a kill, and sub is standard, which also helps alleviate speed issue.

And dont underestimate the utility of ghost/fire resists, especially combined with sub!

Just by virtue of its typing, it can usually sub and set up on chansey, ferro, clefable, venusaur, jirachi, mew, non-surf Fini, and some other common defensive mons that im forgetting.

Especially with calm mind's special def boost, it can often grab one boost in front of a few common offensive mons too. Keep in mind that the opponent will be reluctant to sack something because of beast boost, so you have some extra breathing room to predict a switch when you're in against mons like victini. Things that come to mind: Heatran (especially utility varients), non stone edge bulu, choice locked Lele, choice locked/no knock off kartana, zapdos, magearna, and mawile (if you want to play the sub/attack/sucker punch game). That's not even including the things you force out because of beast boost like scizor, medicham, victim, and all the other mons you can 1hko.

Obligatory mention that it's a great screens abuser too since that opens up a huge number of setup opportunities.
 

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