UU Metagame Trends

By kokoloko. Art by V0x.
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If you played UU at all before last month's tier shift, you probably noticed the constant stream of Spikes-stacking Offense teams on the ladder. Deoxys-D was a huge part of why these teams were so successful, as there was virtually no way of stopping it from setting up Spikes; on top of that, it easily outlasted every single Rapid Spin user in the tier. This led to a very stagnant metagame in which defensive teams were virtually unusable, as giving Deoxys-D free setup turns was too dangerous. The UU Senate was eventually called together to issue a verdict on whether Deoxys should continue to roam free in the UU tier, and after about ten minutes worth of discussion and five weeks of waiting around for FlareBlitz and SJCrew to send in their votes, Deoxys-D was finally voted BL. As fate may have it, this happened to be the only significant change for recent UU, as not a single Pokemon dropped from OU (hi, Scrafty) during the tier shift.

So where do we stand now? Well, players have continued to use Spikes-stacking Offense to great success on the ladder. It's not as good without its main anchor, but it's still a great playstyle. Others have gone back to basics and re-popularized non-Spikes Offense, which is as good as always. And finally, some people decided to take advantage of Deoxys-D leaving the tier and have been using more defensive teams to great success. In essence, the Deoxys-D ban has resulted in a much wider variety of playstyles getting the use they deserve, and hence, a huge majority of UU players agree that this was a positive change. Now, let us examine these trends in a more detailed manner.


Although Deoxys-D clearly stood out as the best of them, there's a reason why Roserade, Froslass, and Qwilfish were initially bundled together with it and dubbed "The Big Three"—they're also pretty damn good at Spiking.


Roserade has, for the most part, become the premier defensive Spikes user in the tier. Not only does it have incredible defensive synergy with common stall Pokemon such as Slowbro, it also comes with the ability to completely control Toxic Spikes—a huge boon to any stall team. What truly makes Roserade so great and versatile, though, is the fact that it can set up on virtually any team that uses a Water-type. Defensive Water-types have been popular since as far back as ADV; Roserade's Grass typing and access to Natural Cure allow it to fearlessly switch into the ever-so-irritating Scald that the aforementioned Water-types commonly use.


Froslass has always been pretty good, but its role as one of the few viable suicide leads left in BW has become even more important since Deoxys-D's departure. With Focus Sash and a moveset of Spikes, Taunt, Destiny Bond, and Ice Beam, it is virtually guaranteed to lay down at least two layers of Spikes within the first few turns of the game. On top of this, its Ghost typing makes it impossible to spin entry hazards away while it remains on the field. This paves the way for a swarm of sweepers to come in and start pummeling the opposing team.


Qwilfish usage has been slowly but steadily rising since before Deoxys-D was even banned. Although its stats are somewhat subpar, between Intimidate, its useful defensive typing, and access to a wide range of support options, including Haze and Thunder Wave, Qwilfish makes for a great check to many of the metagame's top threats, such as Heracross, Darmanitan, Cobalion, Machamp, Escavalier, physical Victini, and others. All these, in addition to the slew of defensive Pokemon it can set up on, grant Qwilfish with plenty of opportunities to lay down Spikes. With all these positive qualities taken into account, its no wonder many people are baffled by the fact that Qwilfish is still RU.

Honorable Mentions

Although Froslass, Roserade, and Qwilfish are generally considered the most effective Spikes users in the tier, other Pokemon can also play this role fairly well. Crustle, Smeargle, Accelgor, and Scolipede all have their own distinct characteristics and advantages. Crustle has a built-in Focus Sash in the form of Sturdy and can become more offensively threatening through the use of Shell Smash. Smeargle, as always, has access to every move in the game, including arguably the best of them all: Spore. Accelgor has its blazing fast base 145 Speed, while Scolipede is fairly fast and has a pretty powerful STAB Megahorn to take advantage of. Nevertheless, it's worth stressing that Froslass, Qwilfish, and Roserade are still, by far, the most popular and consistent Spikes users in the tier.


Despite having received a huge nerf with the banning of Hippowdon, sand continues to be one of the more hotly debated topics in the tier. Gligar has essentially taken up Hippowdon's role as the Pokemon that walls nearly everything that Stoutland doesn't break, but aside from that, not much has changed for the playstyle since Big Hippo's ban. Some argue that Gligar is even better than Hippowdon at its job because of its access to Sand Veil. Don't be fooled, however, as the fact that sand teams are now forced to tack on yet another Ground-type onto their line-ups does them no favors in terms of defensive synergy, but I digress... a typical sand team nowadays is usually composed of Hippopotas, Stoutland, Empoleon, Gligar, and a couple "glue" Pokemon, such as Roserade, Rhyperior, Bronzong, or Flygon. In order to do well in this metagame, you absolutely need to be prepared to face a few sand teams. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself against this type of team.

First and foremost, you should definitely pack one or two Pokemon who can take repeated hits from Stoutland. Rhyperior, Gligar, Bronzong, Cobalion, and Sableye are undoubtedly the most reliable for this job, as each one of these has its own way of dealing with Stoutland. A well-EVd Rhyperior takes less than 25% from any of Stoutland's hits and can attack it back with one of the most powerful Earthquakes in the game. Gligar takes about a third from a Choice Band Return, but it has access to Roost and Sand Veil to make it nearly impossible to break. Bronzong can also take Choice Band Returns fairly well and fire back with a very strong Gyro Ball. Cobalion usually doesn't invest in its Defenses, but it doesn't really need to, as it has access to Swords Dance and Close Combat and can use its decent Special Attack to get past Gligar, threatening a sweep against sand teams whenever it comes in. Finally, there's Sableye, which can fearlessly switch into virtually any of Stoutland's and proceed to burn it with its signature Prankster Will-O-Wisp. That said, there are a few other Pokemon who can take hits from Stoutland, including Escavalier and Empoleon, but you would probably be surprised how quickly they do down to repeated hits.

Of course, there are other ways to deal with sand teams. For example, you can exploit the very noticeable weakness to Ice-type attacks that sand teams usually come with. Nidoking and Nidoqueen are two fantastic Pokemon in this regard, as if you manage to get them in safely, they can fearlessly fire off an Ice Beam knowing you'll be hitting something hard on the switch. This is because sand teams typically carry only Empoleon as the Pokemon with an Ice-type resistance, and since Empoleon is weak to Nidoking's and Nidoqueen's STAB Earth Power, it will not want to switch in at all. Another way of messing with sand teams is by using Pokemon that can take advantage of their own weather moves. By this, I don't mean that you just slap a weather move on a random Pokemon who can sort-of take advantage of it; use it on something truly dangerous. For example, Arcanine, which can take advantage of a buffed Morning Sun, gets access to a no-charge SolarBeam and a boost to its STAB Fire Blast while also having its weakness to Water-type attacks taken care of. Kingdra is extremely dangerous under rain—especially against sand teams who have had their Empoleon sufficiently weakened.

Trendy Sets and Cores

Choice Specs Chandelure

Chandelure @ Choice Specs
Trait: Flash Fire
EVs: 152 HP / 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 100 Spe
Modest Nature (+SpA, -Atk)
- Overheat / Fire Blast
- Shadow Ball
- Hidden Power Fighting
- Energy Ball / Flamethrower

Ever since it dropped from OU, Chandelure has been typically seen wielding a Choice Scarf or taking advantage of the switches it forces to set up Substitutes. However, players have recently been taking further advantage of its absurdly high Special Attack stat. With a Choice Specs attached, Chandelure can literally 1-2HKO every single Pokemon in the tier—bar Thick Fat Snorlax and Trace Porygon2—with the appropriate move. On top of that, this set happens to pair very well with one of the best Choice Scarf users in the tier: Krookodile. This is because Chandelure can either switch into and KO or lure out many of the Pokemon who can take on Krookodile, such as Bronzong and Heracross and bulky Water-types, respectively.

Hybrid Togekiss

Togekiss @ Leftovers
Trait: Serene Grace
EVs: 232 HP / 180 SpA / 96 Spe
Modest Nature (+SpA, -Atk)
- Air Slash
- Roost
- Nasty Plot
- Heal Bell / Thunder Wave

Togekiss has always been a really versatile Pokemon, having been effectively used as a Choice-item wielder, paralysis spreader, and bulky sweeper in the past. This set takes Togekiss's offensive prowess and merges them with its support capabilities to create one of the most useful multi-purpose Pokemon in the game. Not only does Togekiss have the bulk to take a lot more hits than you might expect, it can support the team through the use of Heal Bell, Thunder Wave, or any other of its myriad of support options. On of this, it can boost its damage output through the use of Nasty Plot—an asset which, when combined with Heal Bell, gives defensive teams a hell of a hard time.

Raikou + Zapdos / Rotom-H

Raikou @ Leftovers
Trait: Pressure
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Thunderbolt
- Hidden Power Ice
- Substitute
- Calm Mind


Zapdos @ Expert Belt
Trait: Pressure
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Thunderbolt
- Hidden Power Grass
- Heat Wave
- Volt Switch / Roost


Rotom-H @ Grass Gem
Trait: Levitate
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Volt Switch
- Overheat
- Hidden Power Grass
- Thunderbolt / Pain Split

The strategy of using two similar Pokemon to aid each other sweep is as old as competitive Pokemon itself and "Double Electric" is just another iteration of it. This offensive core seeks to do a few things: firstly, the weakening of each other's counters. Specially defensive behemoths such as Snorlax and Umbreon usually mean a full stop to any one of the above Pokemon, but when used in conjunction, walling them becomes a much harder task. A slightly different take on this is the actual luring and elimination of other counters. For example, Rotom-H is typically seen wielding a Choice item; you can take advantage of this by having it sport a Grass Gem to further encourage this illusion and get a surprise KO on unsuspecting Swampert or Rhyperior once they switch into Volt Switch, resulting in a clear path for a Hidden Power Ice Raikou sweep.

Flygon + Kingdra

Flygon @ Choice Band
Trait: Levitate
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature (+Spe, -SpA)
- Earthquake
- Outrage
- U-turn
- Fire Punch


Kingdra @ Choice Specs
Trait: Swift Swim
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Timid Nature (+Spe, -Atk)
- Hydro Pump
- Draco Meteor
- Dragon Pulse
- Surf / Hidden Power Electric

Similar to the previous section, the "Double Dragon" strategy—which has been in use since as far back as ADV—aims to weaken or take out the opposing team's Dragon-type resists in order to have one of the dragons eventually sweep. Choice Band Flygon and Choice Specs Kingdra have recently become more popular, but really almost any variation of these Pokemon can accomplish this goal when played properly. Some people have taken this strategy one step further and paired this duo with Magneton, creating half of the famed "4Drag2Mag" strategy. Theoretically, this is supposed to work by having Magneton remove Steel-types, allowing Kingdra and Flygon to spam their STAB Dragon-type moves without fearing a Steel-type coming in to take the hit. In practice, however, the lack of viable Steel-types and the fact that the few that are used actually beat it, make Magneton more of a liability than an asset. Nevertheless, the combination of Flygon and Kingdra is one of the most fearsome offensive strategies in the tier, and is sure to score you some wins if you try it.

Roserade + Slowbro + Snorlax

Roserade @ Leftovers
Trait: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 HP / 120 Def / 136 SpD
Calm Nature (+SpD, -Atk)
- Giga Drain
- Sludge Bomb
- Rest
- Spikes


Slowbro @ Leftovers
Trait: Regenerator
EVs: 248 HP / 244 Def / 16 SpA
Bold Nature (+Def, -Atk)
- Scald
- Psyshock
- Slack Off
- Calm Mind


Snorlax @ Leftovers
Trait: Thick Fat
EVs: 208 HP / 124 Def / 176 SpD
Careful Nature (+SpD, -SpA)
- Body Slam
- Whirlwind
- Rest
- Sleep Talk

This a more defensive core, one you could possibly try on your next stall team. The way it works is to have Roserade use its many setup opportunities (such as on opposing bulky Water-types) to lay down Spikes to begin weakening the opposing team. Snorlax can then proceed to essentially wall any special attacker in the tier that troubles Roserade—Chandelure, for example—and use its massive bulk to tank hits as it shuffles the opponent's team around. Slowbro's role here is to use its typing, great Defense, and fantastic ability to pick up the slack in terms of physical walling. Brutally strong physical attackers such as Darmanitan, Arcanine, and Machamp are hard-countered by Slowbro, making them a non-issue. As a bonus, it can even use Calm Mind to go on the offensive if the opportunity presents itself.

The main issue with this core is its weakness to very specific threats which have no problem breaking through all three members, namely Heracross and Weavile. In order to remedy this, you should consider adding a Pokemon such as a defensive Hitmontop, which can counter Weavile and comfortably switch into common variants of Heracross a few times. This also gives you a Rapid Spin user, which is always an asset on stall teams.


There are bound to be many trends that have not been discussed here, and it's good that you've noticed them. In fact, I encourage you go venture into the UU forum and discuss them in the "np" thread. So, until next time, see you on the ladder!

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