Hitting the Lottery: BW's Big Winners

By sandshrewz. Art by sandshrewz.
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With the introduction of new Pokemon, items, and mechanics in each generation, Pokemon in OU come and go as the metagame changes. Some of the previous generation Pokemon receive an upgrade and improve, possibly retaining their spot in OU, while others that are not as fortunate get nerfed or pushed down to the lower tiers. BW, the fifth generation of Pokemon, has brought along several gifts by upgrading several Pokemon one way or another while making moves such as Selfdestruct, Explosion, and Baton Pass, which can no longer pass trapping effects from Mean Look and other such moves, less viable. The change in sleep mechanics was certainly a bane to Rest users and a boon to sleep inducers, particularly the Spore-using Breloom. The change in Wish mechanics isn't totally bad either, seeing that most Wish users have a rather large base HP stat, though it has made some of the Wish users less capable of healing their teammates.

The most obvious and notable change that BW has brought is probably the Dream World. By granting several Pokemon a new ability, it has made some of them even more viable than in previous generations and given them a chance to jump to the higher tiers. While not all the Dream World abilities are good, there are some metagame-changing ones that have impacted tiers and changed them forever. I'm talking about the most famous Dream World abilities, Drought and Drizzle. They brought Ninetales and Politoed to OU and gave them a permanent home there, while also making weather wars far more common than they were in the past. It is certainly without doubt that the Dream World has made a permanent and irreversible impact on the current BW metagame and will continue to do so throughout the generation.

The changes that each Pokemon receives in each generation is comparable to the prizes earned in a lottery; it's all down to luck whether or not a Pokemon will get an upgrade or two in the next Pokemon game. Game Freak is akin to the forces of luck, determining if a Pokemon is lucky enough to be deserving of a good upgrade or should be neglected till next time. So, this generation, which Pokemon have struck big thanks to Game Freak being kind and merciful to them?


Being one of the few RBY OU veterans, Alakazam boasted a great base 135 Special stat, surpassed only by Mewtwo, and a blazing base 120 Speed. Furthermore, Psychic was regarded as a superior typing back in those days as it had only a weakness to Bug. It was indeed a true powerhouse in the RBY era. In GSC and ADV, however, Alakazam saw a reduced usage which meant that it fell to the BL tier, deemed too powerful for UU. Alakazam's reign as one of the best special sweepers ended in DPP as it dropped to UU, mainly due to the physical-special split that made its paper-thin base 45 Defense even more prominent as a weakness. With Pursuit—which was a special move pre-DPP—users running rampant, Alakazam was no longer good enough for OU and had to settle for UU, at least temporarily and for only one generation, for it was granted one of the best abilities in BW. You could say that Alakazam remained in hot pursuit for a place in OU; its base 120 Speed is still one of the highest this generation, making it still one of the best special attackers out there. It can hit hard and fast without the burden of being worn down by entry hazards, Life Orb recoil, and other means of indirect damage.

What It Earned

For a Pokemon with such a high IQ, it must have found a way by itself to fly back into OU. It must have obviously bribed Game Freak to give it something great for it to get back into a tier it was originally in. Dream World, a creation of the Game Freak company, answered Alakazam's wish and gave it Magic Guard. While Alakazam is as frail physically as the spoon it carries, it no longer has to worry about indirect damage killing it. It can skillfully craft a Substitute to sponge physical hits, while being able to make good use of Life Orb without suffering any recoil damage. While Magic Guard could be seen as a more defensive ability, it helps to extend Alakazam's already short longevity and let it focus on Life Orb and its offenses. Maybe after this generation though, it can finally retire as an OU veteran and sit back, stroking its terribly long 'stache.


She might be likened to Humpty Dumpty for her physical frailness, but Chansey often causes nightmares for special attackers as she sits there idly, not caring about any special attacks thrown in her way that threaten to make her a fried egg. The humble Chansey started her days back in RBY as one of the most irritating special walls ever to exist, with the biggest base 250 HP stat and a decent base 105 Special stat. A base 105 stat is actually way more than decent when backed by such a huge base HP. Ignoring the fact that Chansey falls to nearly every physical attack, she was a mainstay in many OU teams. However, much to many special attacker's dismay, there was a bigger threat awaiting in GSC: Blissey. The mention of that name makes many special attackers flee in fear of being walled by an eternity or getting squashed under her enormous weight (especially when she gets Seismic Toss in ADV). Since her introduction, Blissey was always sought for more in OU since it was better in every aspect, and there was really no reason to use Chansey anymore. Thus, it never saw the light of OU once again ... till BW of course.

What It Earned

Game Freak had a sudden stroke of inspiration and decided it was time to end the tyranny of fully evolved Pokemon by giving something beneficial to every single NFE. Thanks to Eviolite, Chansey is no longer horribly outclassed by Blissey in every aspect; she now has better overall bulk at the cost of the inability to utilize Leftovers. Though she may miss Leftovers recovery occasionally, she definitely appreciates the fact that she can at least take some physical hits to a better extent than Blissey does. While Eviolite was certainly a huge driving force to push Chansey back into OU, the change in BW's Wish mechanics definitely granted Chansey's wish of getting back into OU as well. With a gigantic base HP stat as great as her own weight, she can heal almost every teammate completely with a single Wish. Chansey, often affectionately known as the pink blob, is back and set to annoy in BW OU. When you see her, you better hope your strongest physical attacker is still alive or you might have a hard time turning her into a boiled egg.


Cloyster was solidly OU from RBY to ADV (increased from BL to OU), but it fell to UU in DPP thanks to Stealth Rock. It is quite the opposite of Chansey in terms of its stats. While it has a meager base 50 HP, it has a huge base 180 Defense, which was in fact the highest available in RBY. Throughout the generations, it has fulfilled varying roles by itself; in RBY, it could take down slower foes with Clamp, but thereafter, it held a more defensive role in setting up Spikes and spinning them away after receiving Spikes in GSC. With the introduction of Stealth Rock in DPP, however, Cloyster was less adept at spinning away entry hazards due to its vulnerability to all forms of entry hazards. Its Water / Ice typing proved to be a poor defensive typing as well, being weak to twice the number of types it resists. However, Cloyster is done being in UU and is back with a vengeance.

What It Earned

As one of the several shell-bearing Pokemon, Cloyster picked up arguably the best setup move: Shell Smash. Smell Smash turns Cloyster into a complete monster, allowing it, for the first time, to take on a fully offensive role. While Skill Link is not new to Cloyster, it allows Cloyster to reliably use Icicle Spear and Rock Blast as its sweeping options. However, Icicle Spear's Base Power increased from 10 to 25 in BW, making it much more useful than it was in previous generations. 5 hits from Icicle Spear with 10 Base Power only has a total of 50 Base Power, which is miserable compared to the 125 Base Power that it has now. Rock Blast also gained an increase in accuracy from 80 to 90, making it slightly more reliable. The upgrade for these two moves made them valuable assets for Cloyster. Shell Smash is pretty much what Cloyster got in BW, and it was enough to push it back up to OU. Cloyster is also the only OU Shell Smash user despite the move being one of the greatest boosting moves ever. While sweeping with a Shell Smash boost is what Cloyster is good at and normally does, it's still quite efficient at setting up entry hazards and spinning them away, as most people would fear the Shell Smash set would sweep them. While Cloyster has not earned much, it certainly has enough to enjoy its retirement.


This orange dragon is an example of something with great stats that was always outclassed and outshone by other Pokemon throughout the generations until BW. A base 134 Attack is great, but it didn't have much STAB moves to use it with, especially since Dragon-type moves were special moves prior to DPP. Its movepool gave it a wide range of special attacks and support moves but its base 100 Special (Attack) wasn't enough to make good use of the former. In ADV, Salamence was a notch above Dragonite offensively, and despite the former's banning in DPP OU, Dragonite wasn't able to shine as brightly. The physical-special split in DPP was definitely good news for Dragonite, as it could lash out strong, physical Outrages or drop down surprise Draco Meteors. In DPP, Dragonite was one of the more flexible Pokemon that could make good use of the many sets that were available for it. The beginning of DPP only signaled the rise of Dragonite as no one knew it would be a metagame-changing Pokemon in the next generation.

What It Earned

After honing its skills in the Dragon's Den for several years, Dragonite toughened its hide and strengthened its scales. Or at least, Dream World decided it was time for Dragonite to get something useful this time and gave it Multiscale, an ability available to only two Pokemon after the full release of Dream World. Multiscale makes it nearly impossible to KO Dragonite from full health unless you have Icicle Spear or some other similar move. Multiscale has made killing Dragonite an arduous task as it can always Roost to full health and activate its ability again. This certainly made the job of dragon slaying harder than in the previous generations; you can't hope to revenge kill a Dragonite at full health with Ice Shard anymore! Dragonite is no longer as friendly as it looks like when you're facing it as you might find yourself having a horrid time trying to take it down. Besides Multiscale, Dragonite was granted with several other gifts this generation; Game Freak seems to be oddly kind to RBY Pokemon this generation in general. Hurricane, especially when used in rain, is a strong and viable Flying-type STAB attack for Dragonite to make use of. Giving it Dragon Tail makes Dragonite an even more annoying Pokemon thanks to its natural ability to force switches. Upping ExtremeSpeed's priority to +2 makes Dragonite impossible to revenge kill with priority moves, as ExtremeSpeed is already the attacking move with the highest priority available. It does seem surprising though, that such a non-aerodynamic Pokemon can use a +2 priority move, something that the jet-like Latios doesn't get. However, don't go into its Dragon's Den to poke fun at it, or it will show its Outrage.


It is easily the cutest of all the Eeveelutions with its petite body and cat-like stance. Other than that and its slightly better defenses, it was outclassed by Alakazam in every way since its inception. The best thing it could do was use Baton Pass along with a Substitute or attempt to set up with Growth in GSC. Its movepool was limited too, as if Game Freak wished to put Espeon into a pet cage and prevent it from showing its full potential. Despite having rather good base Special Attack and base Speed, Espeon could never go beyond the limitations of its cage. From being BL in GSC and ADV, it plummeted to its lowest in DPP NU. EspyJump, its Baton Pass set, was the most common set up till DPP as it allowed Espeon to escape the clutches of Pursuit users by Baton Passing beyond sight, and if not, let Substitute take the hit. It could also pass Calm Mind boosts at times. Espeon was definitely not deserving of its sparse movepool and had a huge potential to improve if given just the right tool. Espeon definitely wanted to get a chance in OU; it thus used its cute eyes and pleaded with the Game Freak crew for something good in BW.

What It Earned

Of course Game Freak complied to the feline-like Pokemon's request. They definitely couldn't resist giving something good to such a cute Pokemon, could they? They made an ability just for it! Jumping out of the Dream World, Espeon comes out proudly with its new Magic Bounce ability. With that, an Espeon on the opponent's team could often spell trouble for you. It threatens to bounce back entry hazards at you effortlessly, just by switching in. Status moves as well have to be used cautiously against Espeon. Thus, Espeon has become an essential part of every single Baton Pass team, preventing them from being phazed by Roar and Whirlwind, while also bouncing back entry hazards so that Ninjask will not die to Stealth Rock. Espeon's specialty in the past generations was in Baton Pass, and it still is even in BW! EspyJump is just jumping for joy that it has received such a great gift this generation. Of course, its successful comeback into OU wasn't just because of its Dream World ability, but also because of how cute it is. Right?


Gastrodon, one of the several Water / Ground types Pokemon that could easily be NU. It had nothing spectecular about it, other than its base 111 HP. Besides that and its slightly higher base Special Attack stat, it was outclassed by Swampert in every other aspect. Despite being a Ground-type, it couldn't learn even Stealth Rock. It didn't even have access to Roar for it to phaze, though Recover is helpful for immediate healing. However, it did have some use in UU though: it could be a substitute for Swampert in UU and lie in its shadow forever. Sticky Hold was somewhat useful as it made the slug immune to Trick, allowing it to set up with Curse without having to worry about Trick users from hampering it. Gastrodon seemed to have a dull future ahead without great overall stats or an excellent movepool. There wasn't much in store for it, or so it seemed. However, a slight change in mechanics brought some life back to the oft-forgotten slug.

What It Earned

Storm Drain, its ability that was never used back in DPP, gained an upgrade by boosting Gastrodon's Special Attack by one stage whenever it's hit by a Water-type move. With the prominence of rain teams this generation, Gastrodon could take all of the Water-type attacks and drain them away without any worries. In fact, a +1 in Special Attack courtesy of Storm Drain coupled with Choice Specs and rain is rather deadly. Its OU analysis states that its Surf is as powerful as one coming off a 1046 Special Attack stat. Even several Pokemon that resist it will fall in two hits. With the decreasing use of Hidden Power Grass in BW as Hidden Power Ice becomes more prevalent to tackle the Dragon-types, Gastrodon doesn't need to worry about random Hidden Powers KOing it. The rise in VoltTurn also contributes to the increase in usage of Gastrodon as it could easily stop VoltTurn chains. For example, it could easily take on Rotom-W, one of the essential members of VoltTurn teams, and just halt the chain cold, grabbing back momentum. What Gastrodon has earned this generation is a new niche for itself. It managed to rise all the way to OU from NU, while its rival, Swampert, could only watch in awe in UU. While Storm Drain was pretty much the only change it got, the BW environment is kinder to it overall and Gastrodon can call the OU tier its home.


Venusuar never saw the light of OU other than its short stay in ADV BL. Its Grass / Poison typing isn't exactly good as it leaves it with several weaknesses. It could never really sweep without being stopped cold in its tracks. Sleep Powder and Leech Seed are great support tools, but that's nearly all that it had. Grass wasn't a type well suited for sweeping as it is resisted by more than twice the types that is weak to it. Things became slightly better for the plant-bearing Pokemon in DPP, as the physical-special split meant that it was more adept as a full special attacker. No longer was one STAB physical and the other special everytime. It played an instrumental role in many Fire-Water-Grass cores common in DPP UU teams. Venusaur was quite comfortable being UU for so many times already, and it wasn't a bad Pokemon in UU either. It was pretty much accustomed to stay in UU for another generation. However, Game Freak isn't letting it stay there for so long are they? Its one of their RBY Pokemon after all, one of their first creations. They definitely wouldn't bear seeing it not getting a chance to shine after so long. Or maybe actually they would.

What It Earned

Like all of the Kanto starters, Venusaur has gained a weather-based Dream World ability. Unsurprisingly, Venusaur found itself with Chlorophyll as it is a Grass-type. The only other possible weather-based ability it could get as a Grass-type is Solar Power, which was greedily snatched up by old fans' favorite, Charizard. Chlorophyll was not the only thing that Venusaur gained this generation though; the upgrade in Growth mechanics meant that it provides a +2 boost to both Attack and Special Attack under the sun. Combine that and Chlorophyll, and a good sweeper is born. Sweeping wasn't something Venusaur could easily do in the past generations as the best setup move it had was Swords Dance, which focused on its lower base 82 Attack stat. Even after receiving a few gifts this generation, Venusaur might not be the best of all sun sweepers, but it is definitely one of the best. It can cripple foes with Sleep Powder and earn a free turn to set up with Growth or Substitute. The SubSeed set is even more annoying this time as Venusaur is nearly impossible to outspeed under sun. This generation, Venusaur's flower has truly blossomed even though it can no longer dominate OU as much as it did back in DPP UU.


Toxicroak was kind of an oddball; its stats aren't really spectacular or exceptionally poor. It has access to both Swords Dance and Nasty Plot, of which it can make good use of them. Toxicroak's niche in DPP OU was its ability to set up on bulky Water-types such as Tentacruel and Vaporeon, though it couldn't set up in front of Swampert, a fairly common Pokemon. Despite being part Poison-type, it hardly uses Poison-type attacks on its Swords Dance set due to the poor coverage they provide with its Fighting-type STAB moves. Its immunity to Toxic also gave it numerous opportunities to switch in. Though it didn't have what was seen as one of the best Fighting-type attacks, Close Combat, Toxicroak easily settled with Low Kick and Cross Chop. Sucker Punch was a great move to help prevent Toxicroak from being revenge killed, but it was also useful for revenge killing too. For example, it could switch in on a predicted Hydro Pump from Starmie, while probably even replenishing its health thanks to Dry Skin and then revenge kill it with Sucker Punch. Its average base 86 Special Attack allowed it to use Nasty Plot to an acceptable extent in DPP UU. Toxicroak was a decent sweeper in the previous generation thanks to its relative ease of setting up. Still, it still largely hid behind the shadow offamed OU sweepers such as Swords Dance Lucario. Toxicroak was capable of doing what its role demanded but never truly got the chance to really shine.

What It Earned

Toxicroak itself didn't actually gain much that's new technically. Other than a higher Base Power Drain Punch and Sludge Wave, there isn't anything else that's notable. What it did get, however, is a new home that it can settle in quite comfortably. Thanks to permanent rain granted by Drizzle Politoed, Toxicroak can now make better use of its Dry Skin ability. A turn of Dry Skin recovery in rain outweighs Life Orb recoil, meaning that Toxicroak could use Life Orb without worrying about it reducing its already short lifespan; this also increases its longevity somewhat. With rain teams being so common, Toxicroak often finds opportunities to switch in on recklessly-used Water-type attacks. Dry Skin even provides some recovery after Toxicroak sponges a Water-type attack. Its immunity to Water-type attacks also means that it cannot be burnt by Scald, a consistent worry for several physical attackers. Toxicroak often finds itself used on rain teams or as a check to them. With rain and the improved Drain Punch, Toxicroak turns into a good Bulk Up user despite its lack of bulk. Leftovers and Dry Skin recovery help in lengthening Toxicroak's longevity immensely. While Toxicroak is a less-seen Pokemon in OU, it is still effective to some extent, and its rarity often gives it the element of surprise. Its versatility could leave opponents wondering what set it's running, and if they mispredict, they will definitely get hit badly.

Other Honorable Mentions

Remember when Blaziken never saw the light of OU in the past generations? Blaziken is a prime example of a Pokemon that struck the jackpot and won the big prize. A simple gift of the Speed Boost ability and boosted Hi Jump Kick sent Blaziken literally flying to Ubers. Its short stay in BW OU left its blazing trails in its wake. Its power with Swords Dance and possibly sun made Blaziken far too powerful. Poison Heal Gliscor is granted with status immunity once Toxic Orb activates, making it a good check to several status move users such as Breloom. The greater recovery from Poison Heal than from Leftovers also reduces the need for it to use a recovery move; in fact, it can't even use Roost as it is illegal with Poison Heal. With Disable now having 100% accuracy this generation, it has made the SubDisable set viable on Gengar, giving it an altogether new role. The retyping of Rotom formes was a downfall to all the Rotom formes except Rotom-W, which is the only Rotom forme remaining in OU. Its Water / Electric typing is definitely one of the best typings available, and with Levitate removing its Ground-type weakness, Rotom-W only has one weakness. The new Sturdy mechanics also made Skarmory slightly less vulnerable to Magnezone as long as it's at full health so that it can Whirlwind Magnezone out while surviving an attack. It can act as a last resort to phaze out sweepers with Sturdy intact. Tentacruel's Dream World ability, Rain Dish, made it all the more viable on rain stall teams.


Many changes were made from the transition from DPP to BW, and many Pokemon deserved what they received from the transit. With each new game that Game Freak produces, tutor moves, new abilities, and the like can be expected. Several Pokemon have experienced the rise and fall throughout the generations, testing them through the generations. Only a handful of Pokemon have been OU throughout every generation since their inception. Many a times a Pokemon that receives something good immediately flies to OU or even gets banished to Ubers. However, there are instances when Pokemon get a great gift thanks to Game Freak but still fail to shine and rise up against the challenges due to various other factors. For example, while Unaware is a great ability by itself, Quagsire is still stuck in NU due to its poor defenses. Despite having excess to both Baton Pass and Shell Smash, Gorebyss too finds itself buried in NU without a chance of leaving the tier. Still, all these changes still boil down to luck. If a Pokemon is really unlucky, it faces the possibility of being stuck forever in the lower tiers. However, there's definitely no chance of Pokemon like Dustox making a phenomenal improvement and rising up all the way to OU. Or is there?

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