Why the Ladder Sucks at Ubers, or: Charizard is Not a Good Meta Pick

By Tobes. Art by sandshrewz.
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Ubers is a bit of an odd metagame. It's one where most of its denizens are stupidly powerful or incredibly bulky, and sometimes both. Nearly everything meant to be in it is, for lack of a better term, completely broken. And yet, these titans somehow create a stable metagame around each other, where one monstrous threat checks another monstrous threat, so that skilled play from you and your opponent is not only possible, but expected.

Unless, of course, you're on the ladder.

For whatever reason, many people on the lower rungs of the Ubers ladder are bad. Like, really really bad. Maybe it's because people with no competitive experience have a natural proclivity to use the titular legends alongside their starter Pokemon. Maybe they can't do the simple math that would tell them that two Draco Meteors (hell, two Dragon Pulses even) are better than one Roar of Time and the turn it consumes. Maybe they don't understand why exactly Mewtwo is unhealthy for an OU metagame, and refuse to remove it from their team of five OU Pokemon purely on principle.

But the fact of the matter stands: There are a lot of people on the ladder who frankly should not be posing any sort of threat to a remotely competent player. This article is going to help those of you who are horrible at Ubers. Not those of you who are mediocre or aren't playing as well as you could though. In fact I expect a good majority of the people reading this article to not actually need the advice given here. But if you're already running an Ubers team with Meganium, Typhlosion, and Feraligatr, though my words have probably already fallen on deaf ears and you're probably still struggling with the long division that will ultimately prove me wrong about how Roar of Time stacks up against two consecutive Draco Meteors, this article might save you. If you'd like to win every once in a while, listen to me and I'll tell you what you need to stop doing. You need to break bad habits before you can make new ones. Then again, this isn't really so much of a guide for you as so much of an exercise in catharsis for me.

Now, Ubers has another odd quirk going for it: It is really easy for a Pokemon to find a niche here. This is mostly due to the dominance of rain and sun due to Kyogre's and Groudon's large presences in the metagame, but other factors, such as being able to revenge kill Extreme Killer Arceus or set up Toxic Spikes, also play into this. Of course, just because a lot of things have niches, doesn't mean that everything will. Some Pokemon are just bad in Ubers. A lot of them are obvious, but apparently not enough so.


I really cannot stress this enough. You have no idea how frustrating it is to see this thing when laddering. No, Solar Power does not justify a Pokemon who can only switch into Stealth Rock once. Especially not in a metagame where goddamn Kyogre is the most commonly used Pokemon. Ho-Oh at least has utterly insane bulk, Roost, and Sacred Fire to make up for its crippling double Stealth Rock weakness. Reshiram can at least smack Kyogre with a Draco Meteor for some good damage if its rampage in the sun is about to be cut short. What's Charizard going to do? Tickle it with Hidden Power Grass? Yes, I realize Charizard is your favorite starter and Solar Power is a cool ability, but it's really just utterly impractical, especially in the face of such superior Fire-types. Hell, Charizard is used more than some legit Ubers.

Wait 90.7% of Charizard were running Blaze in June?

Yeah ok we're done here.

The same goes for most of your precious starter Pokemon. There are a few that are actually usable (Blaziken, Venusaur, end list), but most of them have no justifiable use, and Frenzy Plant's coverage really isn't all that great in Ubers. Especially when Torterra is using it. There are also other Pokemon who are inexplicably used with regularity on the ladder, such as Electivire and Dusknoir. Yeah, the rejects of DPP OU are sure to have some metagame niche that Zekrom or Giratina don't have. Oh and using Ninetales and Politoed as respective weather back-up for Groudon and Kyogre is a great idea! Or you could just run Flash Fire and Water Absorb respectively, since it won't hinder their effectiveness by much.

By the way, don't listen to trickroom. Gyarados blows.

Awfulness can also be subtle. While it's easy to note that the guy using Pidgeot is not going to be posing any threat, sometimes you'll find someone awful whose team at first glance appears to be competently built. Until he starts attacking.

SolarBeam Reshiram (16.8% usage in June 2012)

What the hell are you trying to hit, Jellicent? Come on man. If you're going to use this at least have the common sense to also run Sunny Day so that you might not be royally screwed when Kyogre inevitably switches in.

Stone Edge Zekrom (16.0% in June 2012)

What, is Bolt Strike not hitting Ho-Oh super effectively enough? Or not missing often enough?

Hypnosis / Roar of Time Darkrai

For those embarrassing moments when an Imprison Smeargle blocks off your Dark Void. And yes, I have seen people run both Dark Void and Hypnosis on the same Darkrai.

As for Roar of Time... better coverage than Hyper Beam I guess.

Psychic Mewtwo (10.6% in June 2012)

...Um... maybe they never leveled Mewtwo to 100 in-game and don't know Psystrike exists?

Shadow Force Giratina (7.3% in June 2012)

This is used on Giratina more than on Giratina-O. I really don't know what else to say.

Freeze Burn Kyurem-W

There aren't any statistics for this one, but I just know there's someone out there using this non-ironically.

Hyper Beam

Hi, RBY called. It wants its finishing move (and that Tauros you're using) back.

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