BW OU Metagame Analysis

By elDino. Art by Moo and paintseagull.
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The BW OU metagame has certainly evolved a lot through its various stages, and it is soon reaching its first birthday. There have been overhyped Pokemon, underhyped Pokemon, as well as Pokemon that were just just generally great, and this analysis shows how the metagame has shifted over recent months. With the ban of Garchomp, OU has shifted dramatically, and rain has really begun to shine (excuse the irony), even more so than before. New threats have also begun to show up, with Choice Band Haxorus, for example, really rising in usage, primarily thanks to the popularity of PK Gaming's team, along with other teams that utilize the infamous 4Drag2Mag strategy. Politoed has gone up in leaps and bounds, hopping up 10 places in usage! This is primarily because of the Garchomp ban, and rain's primary abuser, Thundurus, has also joined Politoed right up in the top ten. These few examples are just a small dip into a whole ocean of changes in statistics, so read on to find out more about the why the top twenty Pokemon are the top twenty, and how they have improved or diminished over the course of the month.

The Top 20

1. Ferrothorn | +1 | 22.3973%

Ferrothorn is once again the most used Pokemon in OU, and for many reasons, will probably stay this way for some time. Ferrothorn's typing gives it perhaps its most important claim to the throne of the most used Pokemon, as it can take the Water-type attacks of rain teams without breaking a sweat, while also being able to switch into Draco Meteors and Outrages from the likes of the Lati twins and Haxorus, respectively. It can even take advantage of these attacks by setting up either Spikes or Stealth Rock. Of course, such a great typing would mean nothing without fantastic defenses to back it up, and Ferrothorn has just the bulk for the job. Expect to see Ferrothorn's usage rise even more in coming weeks, as rain seems set to stay in OU, and the premier counter to it is going to have a better time than ever.

2. Tyranitar | -1 | 21.5956%

This tyrannous beast has lost its top spot since last month, although it still remains right up there in second place. One argument about Tyranitar is that some believe it is at the top only for its ability: Sand Stream. However, others think that it does have some niche as a respectable Pokemon in its own right, which is why it has the top spot. Other perks that give Tyranitar such high usage is an ability to take special hits very well, and it is perhaps the best counter to the Lati twins, which Tyranitar can easily remove with a quick Pursuit or Crunch. The main thing, however, that is keeping Tyranitar at such high usage, is that it does very well against weather teams, thanks to Sand Stream changing the weather, along with having the ability to beat sun almost on its own, presuming it has the right moveset. The massive Attack stat doesn't hurt either.

3. Scizor | +0 | 20.7760%

Scizor is, as always, right up there at the top, and it looks as though it will be staying that way for some time. Its great typing and respectable Defense stat allows it to take various attacks, including the ever popular Dragon-type attacks, without difficulty. Scizor also boasts great Attack, which it can truly use to its advantage, whether boosted by a Choice Band or Swords Dance. To top it off, Roost helps Scizor to stick around, giving it the longevity it needs. The spike of usage in Thundurus may have cemented Scizor's position even more, as it can pick off Thundurus that are on low health with Bullet Punch. Magnezone rising in usage, however, may also dent Scizor's prowess, as it can now easily be trapped and revenge killed, and this is pretty bad for everyone's favourite Bug / Steel type. Scizor's stats and typing will probably give Scizor a long spell near the top of OU; don't expect it to change.

4. Politoed | +10 | 16.9758%

Now this is perhaps the most significant jump from anywhere in the usage stats, other than Garchomp falling 12 places because of its ban. Politoed has really stepped into the limelight after the Garchomp ban, and rising 10 places is something to be proud of. Perhaps it is the realization of the true threat that Thundurus is under rain, or how Latios can destroy specially defensive Scizor and Jirachi with a Specs and rain-boosted Surf that boosts Politoed's usage by so much. All I know is that this little toad is taking the metagame by storm, and Tyranitar had better watch out, as the title of "OU's Most Used Weather Starter" may soon be changing hands.

5. Gliscor | +0 | 16.3532%

Gliscor has been a great Pokemon throughout this generation, being able to take on sand teams almost single-handedly. Rotom-W is perhaps the only threat that Gliscor will constantly run into, but hitting it with a Toxic remedies that issue to an extent. Gliscor sees good usage, as sand threats such as Excadrill, Landorus, and Conkeldurr continue to dominate the metagame. Gliscor's usage may drop slightly in coming months, as the rise in rain teams is going to hurt our bat scorpion, since it is a sitting duck against many top rain threats, such as Starmie, Tornadus, and the aforementioned Rotom-W. Gliscor will still be a good Pokemon as long as sand doesn't suddenly disappear, but with rain on the rise, be sure to see its usage drop.

6. Latios | +0 | 16.0830%

Latios, who was Uber last generation, rightly remains near the top of the usage statistics. STAB Draco Meteor from a base 130 Special Attack stat is still an amazing move, even though the metagame has adapted to it with the rise in usage of Tyranitar and specially defensive Jirachi. In fact, the rise in Politoed has made Latios an even better Pokemon, as it can act as a check to common rain threats on offensive teams, while also being able to function well in the rain itself. A Choice Specs Surf in the rain is extremely powerful, and it allows Latios to 2HKO many of its common checks on the switch. Latios usage will probably stay the same over the coming months, as it is still a great special attacker.

7. Rotom-W | +0 | 15.7871%

Now Rotom-W is certainly an interesting Pokemon; it has stats that only just allow it to fill the role that it needs to fill, and the perfect typing to back it up. A great switch-in to both sand and rain threats, Rotom-W is very versatile, and many teams use it to great success. Volt Switch, Thunder, and Hydro Pump are very potent moves, and when Rotom-W is used in combination with another U-turn user, such as Scizor, the pair can be very difficult to take down. Rotom-W can also stick around with Pain Split, while also crippling walls with Trick. Will-O-Wisp allows it to beat a lot of physical threats, including Ferrothorn, that like to stay in on it. Rotom-W will almost definitely rise in usage over the coming months, perhaps overtaking Latios by the release of the next statistics. Politoed is really helping Rotom-W, so don't be surprised if it rises even more.

8. Excadrill | +0 | 13.5109%

Excadrill, perhaps the epitome of sand offense, is the fifth Pokemon that hasn't budged since last month. Its trademark Swords Dance set is ever so dangerous, and when its few counters are removed, it can easily sweep late-game. A more popular thing to do with Excadrill is to run it with Rapid Spin, and this is very effective, as most spinblockers are forced to stay out as they risk getting slammed by a +2 Earthquake if Excadrill chooses to use Swords Dance. As Ferrothorn has risen in usage to counter rain more effectively, having a Rapid Spin user is a great thing on a team, and Excadrill is the premier option here. Expect Excadrill's usage to stay relatively stable, as it is very effective as a revenge killer, sweeper, and a spinner all in one.

9. Thundurus | +8 | 13.4315%

Perhaps the most talked about Pokemon over recent weeks, Thundurus has climbed even higher into the most used Pokemon of OU. A fantastic STAB type, great stats, and perhaps the perfect boosting move in Nasty Plot really helped the Electric-type genie to reach staggering heights. The main reason, though, is that the huge rise in Politoed usage has brought with it rain's primary abuser, which is of course Thundurus. Although the only added bonus that Thundurus gets in the rain is the ability to use a reliable STAB Thunder, this is an amazing asset for the genie, as it will find itself gaining various KOs when unboosted, such as on specially defensive Scizor. Such power and versatility will most likely mean that Thundurus will be banned this round, but until that happens, it will be a very potent threat.

10. Dragonite | +2 | 12.9028%

Another top rain abuser has risen up in the rankings, and Dragonite is its name. Dragonite really helps rain teams, by providing a very strong STAB Hurricane, while also being able to abuse Thunder, and occasionally Water-type attacks. Dragonite is also a fantastic counter to Fighting-types that some rain teams may trouble with, since most run Ferrothorn as their physical wall. Dragonite is an overall great Pokemon, thanks to great offensive stats, as well as viable defensive stats and its ability: Multiscale. If rain continues to rise in usage, there is almost no doubt that Dragonite will follow in its footsteps, as having access to a 100% accurate STAB Hurricane and a darn right powerful Thunder are two opportunities that are almost too good to pass up for this Dragon-type.

11. Heatran | -1 | 12.8224%

It is certainly surprising that Heatran has managed to stay so high in usage, considering that almost 50% of teams include a Tyranitar or a Politoed. Water- and Ground-type attacks are certainly things that Heatran wants to avoid, and there are plenty of them around OU at this moment in time. However, Ninetales has been a huge factor in keeping Heatran up in OU, as it is a Pokemon that virtually every sun team features. Its fantastic stats have also kept it high in OU, and it can act as a good wall to dangerous threats such as Volcarona and Excadrill (but only when equipped with a Balloon). Heatran is also able to smash Ferrothorn into the ground with a STAB Fire Blast, truly a useful trait. Heatran's usage has declined, however, and it has been overtaken by Dragonite and Thundurus, which shows how much rain's power has really increased. Perhaps the usage statistics for Heatran have been slow to move, as I for one certainly see it dropping in the coming months.

12. Jirachi | -1 | 12.5504%

Jirachi, possibly the most versatile Pokemon in the game, has also seen a fall in usage, although this is one of the anomalies of this month's usage statistics. Jirachi functions remarkably well in rain, and Pokemon that do so as well have all risen in usage, but for Jirachi, this is definitely not the case. Perhaps it is because of the rise in Thundurus, which Jirachi is taken out by. Jirachi was perhaps the premier special wall up until now, but a rise in usage of the Electric-type genie may have changed this. Pokemon such as Gastrodon and Quagsire have had a rise in usage, since they can take on perhaps the most competent new threat in the metagame, and these have probably taken Jirachi's place. Perhaps, though, Jirachi's versatility will mean that another set is found that deals with these genies, a Choice Scarf set for example, and I feel that Jirachi will always stay high in usage.

13. Reuniclus | -4 | 10.6725%

Reuniclus, who was very useful in the last few rounds, has dropped by four places. As the metagame has become more and more weather centralized, Reuniclus has most likely dropped in usage because of this. Reuniclus is perhaps the only Pokemon so far that does not benefit from weather in some shape or form. Also, Tyranitar is second in usage, and Scizor is closely along side it in third, which is really bad news for Reuniclus, since they are perhaps its two best counters. Reuniclus is still up there though, as when its few select counters are removed, it is nearly impossible to stop if it gets a Calm Mind. The Trick Room set can be very useful by luring out both Tyranitar and Scizor, and then OHKOing both of them with either Focus Blast or Hidden Power Fire, which also keeps it high in usage, despite its recent shortcomings.

14. Skarmory | +2 | 10.3198%

Well, the number one physical wall in the game since GSC has certainly thrived in the BW OU metagame. Having the ability to wall almost every sand threat single-handedly is something to be proud of, and this gives Skarmory some decent usage in OU. Skarmory is perhaps OU's number one Spiker too, which means that it definitely has a niche in that respect. Skarmory's ability to also take on Dragon-types at times is very useful; for example, Calm Mind Latias is completely destroyed by Skarmory, and it can Brave Bird or just Whirlwind the Dragon away. Skarmory is hampered by rain and sun, though, as it can't take the high powered Water-type attacks, and it obviously doesn't want to be on the end of a boosted Fire-type attack. This weakness to weather is probably what stops Skarmory from being right up in the top five Pokemon.

15. Garchomp | -12 | 9.6695%

Even though Garchomp was banned halfway through the month, it still managed to claim the 15th spot in the usage statistics. Although it is impossible to comment on how this effects the metagame, as it is now gone, one can truly marvel at the huge impact that Garchomp had on BW OU. Managing to claim the fifteenth spot on the list shows that the metagame was very centered on Garchomp, and it truly was a threat to be aware of.

16. Conkeldurr | -3 | 9.3384%

Conkeldurr, a very hyped up Pokemon of this generation, has dropped in usage significantly. Perhaps players overestimated its general ability, as the Bulk Up set (perhaps the best general set) is countered by Gliscor, a very common Pokemon. The rise in usage of Dragonite, Thundurus, and Tornadus have also hurt Conkeldurr's ability to be a top tier threat, as each of the aforementioned Pokemon check it very well. Conkeldurr has also been replaced on many teams by Reuniclus, due to it having fewer counters and more versatility with Trick Room. Rain is bad news for Conkeldurr, though, as it can be easily pounded by strong Water-type attacks, as well as STAB Hurricanes. All these downfalls make Conkeldurr seem like a bad Pokemon, but being perhaps the best switch-in to the top two Pokemon, Ferrothorn and Tyranitar, means that it certainly isn't a threat to be underestimated.

17. Gengar | -2 | 9.1884%

This mischievous Ghost-type from RBY is still one of the most popular Pokemon in BW, and for good reason too. Its blazing Speed and impressive Special Attack allow it to dent almost any Pokemon, other than its designated counters. This generation, though, it seems to be more effective with a new set, rather than by using its out-and-out special attacking sets of the previous generations. SubDisable allows Gengar to be a real threat with Toxic Spikes support, and it can also check a great deal of huge offensive presences, including Conkeldurr, Reuniclus, and many Choiced Pokemon such as Scizor, the Lati twins, and Rotom-W. Gengar can also get a Substitute up on the ever common Gliscor, which cements its viability in OU. The huge usage of both Tyranitar and Scizor, however, is a major downfall to Gengar's utility, and that is why it isn't as highly regarded as it used to be in OU.

18. Jellicent | +0 | 8.8326%

Jellicent is still a remarkable OU wall, even though it seems to have dropped in favor over the long term. This month, though, it hasn't changed at all in usage, thanks to its great ability: Water Absorb. Having the trait of being able to absorb and benefit from any Water-type attack is a great thing in the current metagame, due to the huge usage of Politoed and its Water-type attacks. This trait should have seen Jellicent shoot up into the heights of the usage stats, but the popularity of Tyranitar and Ferrothorn – perhaps two of the best counters to Jellicent – has meant it stays closer to the bottom of the top twenty. Jellicent is a remarkable Pokemon, but you can probably expect its usage to stay at the same level, as long as Tyranitar and Ferrothorn dominate OU.

19. Starmie | +0 | 8.5988%

Starmie's fantastic Speed and great Special Attack, along with perhaps the best STAB in the current metagame, mean that it is one of the few RBY Pokemon to still stay at high usage in OU. Being able to spam STAB rain-boosted Hydro Pumps at great velocity is really a feat that helps it to be used so often. Great coverage in Thunderbolt and Ice Beam solidify its position, while access to Recover and Rapid Spin is just the icing on the cake. Starmie seems like a fantastic Pokemon, but the reason why it is not right at the top is because of the abundance of Ferrothorn along with Tyranitar to an extent. The aforementioned Pokemon take down Starmie without difficulty, although its general frailty also means that it isn't too difficult to revenge kill. Starmie could be a lot higher in the usage stats, but for now, expect it to stay around this borderline.

20. Magnezone | +9 | 7.8437%

Magnezone is one of the Pokemon that is a real spectacle, as its usage has really changed since last month. The huge raise in usage that Magnezone received is probably due to the success of the "4Drag2Mag" strategy, in which Magnezone and most of the time Magneton is paired up with four Dragon-types, namely Garchomp, Latios, Hydregion, and Salamence or Dragonite. PK Gaming's team executed this strategy almost perfectly, although it utilized a twist in having Mamoswine. This team has been all over the ladder, and it has really spiked Magnezone's usage, as you can clearly see here. However, the banning of Garchomp will probably mean that Magnezone will take a nose dive in usage, as without the fierce Dragon-type we all loved and hated at times, the "4Drag2Mag' strategy is not nearly as effective anymore, and for this reason, don't expect Magnezone to jump in usage.

Winners & Losers

With the metagame shifting so much over the past few months – thanks to the ban of Garchomp mainly – there are undoubtedly some Pokemon that have benefited, therefore making them shoot up the rankings, and some Pokemon that have, well, not. This section will give a general overview of the Pokemon that rose up through the ranks, and the Pokemon that didn't do so well.

The Winners...:

This month, people finally began to realize the potential of perhaps the most broken Pokemon in the game at the moment: Thundurus. After banning one broken Pokemon, it seems that our avid players have moved onto the next, perhaps, overpowered Pokemon. Thundurus's great stats in all areas really shows why it is up top, and raising 9 spots in usage is absolutely tremendous. It is perhaps the best late-game sweeper in OU, as after Pokemon such as Gastrodon, Excadrill/Tyranitar, and fast Choice Scarfers have been removed, it is virtually unstoppable.

Latias also had an epic jump; it climbed from 51st position on the stats board, almost in UU, to a respectable 34th. Being able to counter most rain threats, such as Politoed and Rotom-W, gives it a significant niche in this metagame. Latias can also sweep late-game with its popular Calm Mind set, which, when Scizor, Ferrothorn, and Tyranitar have been removed, is almost impossible to counter.

Celebi is much in the same boat as Latias; its valuable resistance to Water-type attacks and great stats all around allow it to be an effective Pokemon in OU. This trait is such a benefit for Celebi, that it has risen from 55th, to 38th in the rankings, a jump of seventeen places. While Celebi is very similar to Latias, it does have a couple of major differences, including the ability to beat Tyranitar (with Giga Drain) and also being able to lure out and deal with Scizor and Ferrothorn with a Nasty Plot-boosted Hidden Power Fire. Such characteristics mean that it is only usually countered by Pokemon such as Latios, Latias, and Volcarona, each of which can strike back with their STAB attacks.

Finally, one Pokemon that was completely overlooked last round was Gastrodon. This round, however, it has jumped a huge number of places, seventeen to be exact, and it is tied with Celebi and Latias for the largest jump. Why you may ask? It is perhaps the perfect answer to the common Thundurus (although you must watch out for Grass Knot), and it takes on a variety of other rain threats single-handedly, a feat which only a few other Pokemon can boast. Gastrodon excels in scaring away offensive threats with Scald, while it can also do a number to defensive Pokemon with Toxic. Gastrodon is also perhaps the perfect counter to Rotom-W, as it can do nothing to it with its dual STAB attacks, a feat that is certainly worth boasting about.

So that's it, the above Pokemon have really excelled over the past month, and they are certainly threats to look out for.

...and the losers:

Unfortunately, when something benefits, usually something else suffers, and these Pokemon here are the unfortunate ones. Machamp is the first; its famed DynamicPunch was enough to send shivers down reyscarface's spine, and for good reasons, too. A move that always inflicts confusion is certainly useful, but what has made Machamp so mediocre now? Dropping from 41st place to 53rd, right on the edge of UU, is something to be ashamed of, and Machamp needs to work his life out. Perhaps it needs to learn to use Mach Punch, like our newer, more popular pure Fighting-type, Conkeldurr. Maybe it needs another STAB attack, like Scrafty, as a Dark and Fighting STAB combination is unresisted, and Machamp could really do well with that extra niche. Overall, the main reason for Machamp's sudden drop is because it is, on the whole, outclassed by the other Fighting-types that roam the tier.

Cloyster is the next Pokemon we come across. During it's first few months, people raved about the Shell Smash set, and how it could do tremendous damage to much of the metagame. Being hampered by Ferrothorn's hazards, as well as having an awful defensive typing and bad defensive stats after a Shell Smash, though, are not desirable traits for a sweeper, and Cloyster quickly dropped in usage. To be specific, it fell from 36th to 47th, which is really a tremendous drop when compared to the other Pokemon that have shone this month. Cloyster is also somewhat outclassed by other setup sweepers, including but not limited to Thundurus, Excadrill, and Landorus, since they are stronger, faster, and have way to beat through possible counters, and this is perhaps the reason for its drop in usage.

The final Pokemon that has really lost a lot of support, is surprisingly, Hippowdon. Its main niches include being able to counter Excadrill, as well as having the ability to set-up the much needed sandstorm. Dropping ten places, from 38th to 48th is really bad for everybody's favorite hippo, although it is relatively easy to see why such a change has occurred. When most people think of sandstorm, Tyranitar is usually the first Pokemon that comes to mind, and for good reason. It can effectively beat Ferrothorn, Scizor on the switch in, the Lati twins, and Gliscor as it switches in, all with one set. Hippowdon is also susceptible to Water-type attacks, whereas Tyranitar can take most thanks to its great Special Defense in a sandstorm. Overall, the main reason that Hippowdon is pretty much gone, is that Tyranitar just does the job of setting up Sandstorm better by miles, in return for an vulnerability to physical attacks, meaning that we have to leave one of the best physical walls last generation to rot near the bottom of OU.

The Future...

Well. The current stats are obviously interesting, but how will these change in the future... Let's make some predictions.

The first thing that we must note, is that the banning of Thundurus is an event that will most likely occur. Many players of the current metagame agree that Thundurus is frankly, quite overpowered, and the only suitable solution would be to ban it. Such a ban would almost certainly decrease rain's popularity, which would mean Pokemon such as Excadrill, Landorus, and Tyranitar would become much more popular. On another note, this would also perhaps increase sun's usage, and threats like Volcarona, Infernape, and Venusaur would become a lot more powerful overall. On the other hand, however, Pokemon that benefit from rain may see a little less usage. Starmie, Latios, and Bronzong may begin to fall, as their sand counterparts, so to speak, (Excadrill, Reuniclus, and Skarmory respectively) will take their places. Also, Pokemon that counter rain will see less usage, as they will not be needed as much. Gastrodon, Latias, and Celebi, all Pokemon that have seen major rises, will perhaps fall down slightly, as they will not be needed as much with the advent of rain.

Other than that, predictions are deceptively hard to make in this metagame, as the majority of the Pokemon seen have stayed at the same level really, apart from the increase in rain usage. Enjoy making your own predictions, though, as it really is a fun pastime for the budding statistician!


Well, this article certainly portrays the metagame, and I hope everyone uses it to their benefit. Watch out for the rain, as it is extremely dangerous, and beware of that tyrannous beast, Tyranitar, and its companion, Ferrothorn. Enjoy the usage and...

Have fun playing OU!

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