Weather Analysis: Hail

By PDC. Art by paintseagull.
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Overused is dominated by three primary weathers in sand, rain, and sun. All three feature premier sweepers that are extremely dangerous under their favorable weather. Sand has the powerful canine Stoutland, the genie Landorus, and the ability to boost all Rock-types' Special Defense when it's active. Drizzle gives Water-type moves a respectable power boost; it also gives Tornadus-T, a previously weak little bird, the terrifying power of a 100% accurate Hurricane, while it gives Thunder 100% accuracy as well. Drizzle also gives you some defensive merits such as weakening the power of Fire-type moves by 50% and activating healing abilities like Dry Skin and Rain Dish. Sun gives Chlorophyll sweepers like Venusaur a gigantic boost in Speed and an increased power to Fire-type moves by 50%. Now, when you have these 3 weathers roaming around the metagame stirring up fire, typhoons, and dust bowls, you would probably think hail would have no place in this tier. What can a little snow storm do that these other three can't? Hail doesn't boost the power of Ice-type moves, it doesn't activate any Speed-boosting abilities, nor does it grant any additional healing outside of the limited distribution of Ice Body. So for many OU players the question is really, "Why use hail?".

What hail does is offer some unique qualities to many teams that use it. Abomasnow has some decent niches in its own right to warrant use as not only a weather starter, but a decent check to bulky Water-types. Abomasnow is the head honcho of all hail teams and gives the team the weather advantage. Hail matches up well against rain, the most common weather in today's metagame. Abomasnow easily crushes Politoed and messes around with the rest of the standard rain teams with Ice Shards to ward off Tornadus-T and the Dragons commonly seen in rain. Hail teams tend to actually be the least "weather dependent" teams of those that do choose to run weather, and Abomasnow usually acts as more of a team player than just a simple weather inducer. Hail teams also tend to be very unique in style, and are typically balanced or bulky in the way they play. The residual damage hail brings as a weather is easily capitalized on with additional hazard damage. Defensive core based hail teams are very successful and can easily do well against other weathers. Sand inducers fear Abomasnow just like Politoed, as neither Tyranitar nor Hippowdon wants to be crippled by Wood Hammer, Leech Seed, or Blizzard, respectively. Hail was looked down on at the start, but began being used more as creativity was also encouraged. Abomasnow's unique movepool and qualities as the commander of this weather give it an advantage over almost all weather inducers, as even Ninetales doesn't like taking an Earthquake or a Leech Seed on the switch.

Commonly Seen Pokemon on Hail Teams


It should come as no surprise as to why Abomasnow is on the list. It is the bringer of hail—Abomasnow is the one who gets the snowball rolling. Abomasnow has some unique qualities outside of bringing hail though. With its unique typing and movepool, Abomasnow has access to moves like Earthquake, Wood Hammer, Ice Shard, and Leech Seed. Abomasnow can heavily damage every weather starter in the game with a handy mixed set, allowing it to be a deadly competition in keeping the weather up. It's also a nifty counter to Rotom-W and other bulky Water-types, while serving as a dragon slayer with Ice Shard, being able to revenge Salamence, Dragonite, Latios, and Haxorus as well. Abomasnow can also run a more defensive set through the nasty combination of Leech Seed + Protect. With hail on the field, enemies will be even more heavily damaged by these helpful effects; slowly wearing down the opponent through constant residual damage. Abomasnow's typing may seem like a burden at first, but it has some great uses in the current metagame.


Heatran is to hail as Volcarona is to sun. Heatran may seem weird to fit on a hail team at first. What does a lava-spewing spider really do in hail anyway? Beat out sun and provide valuable resistances, that's what. For many defensive—and even some more offensively based, hail teams—Heatran is typically the Stealth Rock provider and sun check. Not only can it beat Volcarona, Venusaur, and Victreebel as well as easily absorb anything Ninetales can throw at it, it also has a solid Steel typing which allows it to take Draco Meteors and Outrages from enemy Dragons. It's not a surprise that Heatran is a good Pokemon, but in hail it is even better. Heatran has a valuable role on defensively based hail teams with Roar to rack up damage, as well as Toxic and Protect to wear down opponents in combination with the hail. Its ability to check basically everything Abomasnow hates, aside from Fighting-types, gives the two pretty solid synergy as well. Heatran is an amazing glue and works well on almost all hail teams, and it will surely benefit from the gifts hail gives it.


Sadly, Abomasnow is one of the most vulnerable Pokemon to hazards in the entire game. Stealth Rock, Spikes, and Toxic Spikes will all hurt it badly, crippling it for a long time. That's where spinners come in, and Starmie does that job very well. Aside from sharing good synergy with Abomasnow defensively, Starmie gets rid of those pesky hazards with ease. Starmie is also able to take on the Deoxys-D and Gengar combination with ease. Starmie is key to defensive hail teams as it can often be the answer to winning a match. Getting rid of hazards on your side is very important. Making sure you don't fall to constant residual damage is important. Starmie is perfect for the job and gives you one of the most valuable gifts in the game. Hail as a whole hates hazards, and Starmie gets rid of them, not caring about Toxic Spikes or too much residual damage due to Natural Cure. Avoiding a burn on Abomasnow from a stray Scald is also useful.


Bronzong is one of the coolest Pokemon around at the moment, and it makes a perfect partner for hail teams. Providing Stealth Rock and a valuable Dragon resist allows Bronzong to comfortably fit on hail teams with ease. Bronzong does an excellent job at being a wall, and fits fantastically on defensive hail teams alike. Bronzong works great as a check to Kyurem and other Dragons, especially Garchomp and Kyurem-B, who can pick hail teams apart. Bronzong does a great job at handling sand teams too, as it is immune to the residual damage from it.


Gliscor shares great synergy with Abomasnow, being able to handle the strong Fighting-types that otherwise give hail teams trouble. Terrakion can't beat out Gliscor unless it gets a Rock Gem boost, and otherwise most of the sets it runs, like Choice Band and Choice Scarf, cannot touch it unless it gets lucky with Stone Edge. Gliscor can also handle other physical attackers, like Jirachi, Garchomp, Dragonite, and Scizor. Gliscor has the option of setting up Stealth Rock to support the team even further as well.


Jirachi has the stats and typing to impress, and the solid specially defensive set does very well on defensively based hail teams. Although it doesn't resist Fighting or Fire, it still works well as a defensive Pokemon on hail teams. A Steel typing alone is a cool thing to have, but combined with a seriously fantastic support moves is just an added bonus. Being able to cripple opposing teams with paralysis, support teammates through Wish, or set up Stealth Rock to get your hazards on the field. Jirachi can handle a plethora of Dragon-types along with other strong special attackers, especially Tornadus-T, the reigning king of rain. Jirachi is an amazing Pokemon to have to counteract other common teams, who typically have at least one member walled by this little steel pixie. Overall, with its well-rounded stats, typing, and movepool, Jirachi can do very well in the metagame, especially on hail teams.


We already talked about steel pixies, abominable snowmen, giant bats, and alien starfish, but where does a giant jellyfish fit in now? Tentacruel doesn't just support rain teams, it supports hail teams very well too. Acting as a good check to the likes of Volcarona and other sun beasts, Tentacruel does a great job at supporting the team and keeping everything in check. Tentacruel also has the very unique quality of being a Rapid Spinner to keep your team safe from hazards, a job Tentacruel does very well. Being able to take advantage of the prevalence of rain and use it against rain teams is just what Tentacruel does best, and it has no problem using it to the fullest. Tentacruel is a very cool choice on hail teams, as not only does it provide the spin support and an annoyance to rain, but it also does a fine job at laying down Toxic Spikes to keep your opponent in a corner throughout the game.


Scizor lost his top spot temporarily to Genesect, but gained it back as soon as the latter left the tier. The reason this praying mantis works well in hail is because it can handle many threats hail struggles with. Scizor can revenge kill many setup sweepers that threaten hail like Terrakion, Kyurem-B, Salamence, and a plethora of other Pokémon. Scizor works well as a momentum grabber with U-turn, wearing down the opposing team with combined hail and residual damage. Scizor is also a valuable Dragon tamer with his Steel typing, and works very well on more bulky offensive teams. Scizor can also be a dangerous setup sweeper with a Swords Dance set; against a weakened team nothing is getting away without being injured, and because of the switches it causes, hazards and hail will get to the opponent rather quickly.


Skarmory is useful on defensively based teams especially, with the hazards it provides and the ability to shuffle the team around in conjunction with them is a very useful thing to have. The additional hail damage will also help cripple the opposing team quickly. Its ability to provide Spikes in addition to Stealth Rock will keep pressure on the opposing team. With Whirlwind, Skarmory can add up to that damage with constant shuffling of the opposing team. Skarmory is a great addition to hail teams because it provides solid hazard support for defensively minded teams, and it easily takes care of strong physical attackers like Terrakion, Conkelldurr, Haxorus, Dragonite, and Breloom. A great addition to any hail team, Skarmory is a solid option to place on your own team.


Ever since the powerful Kyurem-B was released from Ubers, he has been a strong force in the metagame. Not only does Kyurem-B have amazing offensive stats, he is also rather bulky. In hail it has no problem being the dominant Dragon in this weather. Taking no damage from hail thanks to its secondary Ice typing, and receiving a 100% accurate Blizzard, Kyurem-B can be a monster on more offensive hail teams and is a very potent force. With the great bulk Kyurem-B has, he doesn't have too many problems with weaker attacks and can get a Substitute up rather quickly. Being able to abuse the prevalence of bulky Water-types in this metagame, Kyurem-B can easily gain a quick advantage over a Rotom-W or Gyarados. The only thing holding him back fully is the huge hazard weakness he has. But fear not, as the simple addition of a spinner can cure this.


Landorus-T is like a bulkier version of his other form thanks to his new ability, Intimidate. Now Landorus-T can act as a bulky pivot with U-turn, which also packs a serious punch. Landorus-T basically has no limits to where it can fit, as he can be used perfectly fine on a more defensively based team or an offensive one. Landorus-T also sets up Stealth Rock, which is pretty nifty for a Pokemon of his style. Although often overshadowed in favor for other defensive giants, Landorus-T is a very useful Pokemon for a hail team. Thanks to his notable Fighting resist and Intimidate, he can safely switch into Terrakion and other strong physical attackers without worrying too much about being pummeled to death like Skarmory. His solid bulk and great offenses make him a good choice for any hail team due to his versatility as a bulky pivot.


Jellicent synergizes fantastically with hail teams. Defensive ones will love having this one around due to the fantastic resists it carries. Being completely immune to Fighting and resisting Fire takes a huge amount of weight off Abomasnow's back. Better yet, Jellicent can prevent hazards from spun away and keep them on the field throughout the match. With reliable recovery to boot, Jellicent will often be staying alive throughout the match. Just like Jirachi and Latias, Jellicent shares that great support movepool with access to moves like Taunt, Will-O-Wisp, Recover, Toxic, and Scald for good measure. Jellicent works well on almost all defensively minded teams, as it won't be able to keep up with offensive teams very well and ruin the momentum. Defensively based hail teams, on the other hand will love the support Jellicent provides, as it covers just the right threats hail teams need.


Latias is one of those Pokemon that works well on every type of team. Being the bulky dragon it is, it can easily sponge Fighting attacks and act as a great special wall with its useful Fire and Water resists. Latias is no different on a hail team. Its resistances to Fighting and Fire attacks gives it a huge advantage thanks to the great synergy it has with Abomasnow and the rest of the team. Latias has many uses for utility options as well. Its ability to to run a Bulky Offense set to retain the important bulk and still hit hard is a solid option for more offensive hail teams. While a bulkier set like Calm Mind can be used to break apart opposing teams with hazard support if it has Roar. It can be a great defensive and offensive Pokemon at the same time, which is one of the greatest things to have in the current metagame. Latias combines it all, with the added bonus of a high Speed.


Just like Tentacruel and Starmie before it, Forretress is here because it can spin away hazards and keep Abomasnow and its other teammates from being crippled to death. Forretress, however, has some different qualities that separate it from its sea-bound friends. Forretress has a fantastic Steel typing, which allows it to sponge Dragon attacks, which is always a good thing. Forretress can also set down hazards of its own, like Stealth Rock and Spikes, while spinning away the enemies' hazards with ease. Forretress isn't a sitting duck either. Through the useful move Volt Switch, Forretress can grab momentum of its own and get out of a bad situation. Forretress is a unique Pokemon entirely separate from Starmie and Tentacruel, and definitely deserves consideration for a spot on your hail team.


Reuniclus is a unique Pokemon in any weather, but in hail it makes a formidable stallbreaker who easily fits on a team. Thanks to the fantastic ability Magic Guard, Reuniclus does not care about crippling status effects like burn and poison, and it doesn't take any residual damage from weather. Reuniclus can also sponge powerful Fighting-type moves that hope to take down Abomasnow. Reuniclus really shines perfectly on stall due to the prevalence of Pokemon that get crippled by it, and because it can also help break stall for other offensive partners. It fits perfectly on any hail team, defensive or offensive. It can run a slower stall breaker Calm Mind set or a faster paced Trick Room set which demolishes offensive teams. Overall, Reuniclus makes a solid choice for all types of hail teams, and is a great option for you to try out.

Example Team

Abomasnow @ Expert Belt
Ability: Snow Warning
EVs: 252 Atk / 156 SpA / 100 Spe
Lonely Nature
- Ice Shard
- Wood Hammer
- Earthquake
- Hidden Power Fire

Landorus-T @ Leftovers
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 200 HP / 56 Atk / 252 Def
Impish Nature
- Stone Edge
- Earthquake
- Stealth Rock
- U-turn

Heatran @ Choice Scarf
Ability: Flash Fire
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
- Fire Blast
- Earth Power
- Hidden Power Ice
- Overheat

Starmie @ Leftovers
Ability: Natural Cure
EVs: 252 HP / 40 SpA / 216 Spe
Timid Nature
- Scald
- Psyshock
- Rapid Spin
- Recover

Kyurem-B @ Leftovers
Ability: Teravolt
EVs: 56 HP / 216 Atk / 44 SpA / 192 Spe
Lonely Nature
- Dragon Claw
- Substitute
- Fusion Bolt
- Blizzard

Skarmory @ Leftovers
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 252 HP / 232 Def / 24 Spe
Impish Nature
IVs: 30 Atk / 30 SpA / 30 Spe
- Brave Bird
- Roost
- Spikes
- Whirlwind

Team Description

This bulky, offensive-minded hail team displays one of the most powerful sweepers in the current metagame: Kyurem-B. With the support of hazards and a spinner, Kyurem can thrive in this environment that the team creates for it, being very well tailored to its needs. The team itself has some unique set choices like Choice Scarf Heatran to give it a reliable revenge killer to Dragons, Tornadus-T, and other faster threats. Choice Scarf Heatran is not only used for the sheer use of a Steel-type, but the ability to cover up sun weaknesses and be a huge danger to common teams in the metagame will be very useful. Then we have the glue of the team: bulky spinner Starmie. Starmie is a fantastic choice as a spinner for a more fast-paced team like this. With great Speed and great attacking power, Starmie is not a sitting duck. Being able to get a spin off fast is Starmie's specialty, and without it, hazards would destroy this team from the inside out. Considering a spinner is almost mandatory on all hail teams, Starmie is a fantastic option on this team especially, and without it the team would fall apart. Then you have the actual Stealth Rock user and bulky pivot of the team, Landorus-T. Landorus-T is somewhat of a wall on the team with Intimidate, allowing it to handle strong physical attackers like Terrakion and opposing Dragons if needed. Being able to grab momentum very easily with U-turn, Landorus-T can keep the hazard damage coming while firing off strong Earthquakes and Stone Edges with its monstrous Attack stat. Forming a very potent defensive core with Starmie, they both do well together synergy-wise for the team. Skarmory is added to help combat Dragons further, as well as set up hazards and to shuffle around the opposing team. With both Stealth Rock, Spikes, and hail up the opponent will have a hard time dealing with Kyurem-B. Hazards will also help in the fight against opposing weather inducers by weakening them, and with Skarmory being the reliable hazard layer it is, it's not too hard to get a layer up quickly. Finally we have the head honcho itself, Abomasnow. To keep up with the more offensive pace of the team, an offensively minded Abomasnow was used to really guarantee full anti-weather material. Through the moveset given, Abomasnow will hit every opposing weather starter super effectively, limiting their switches into this guy. With a powerful Earthquake, Ninetales and Heatran will have to think twice before coming into this guy, and a strong Ice Shard can even put the strongest of Dragons back into their place.


After reading this article, I hope you all realize hail is not a piece of WhiteQueen-worthy trash and has its uses over other styles of weather. In the Overused metagame, hail will always have a significant use as a anti-weather style or a different type of build than anything else. The Pokemon featured in hail have all great uses, and what makes this style so great is the versatility of the team blueprints and Pokémon that can fit on it well. The 15 Pokemon listed above are surely not the only ones who fit well on hail teams—the list would contain hundreds of more Pokémon if all were listed. And although hail may have its flaws as a team style, it is overall a very worthwhile style to try out if you're looking for something new. Being able to beat out all other weather based teams is a huge advantage, and is something that is definitely unique and will give you an advantage in this type of metagame. Hail is a perfect weather to use not only in the holiday season, but all year long, so grab that coat and get ready for a Blizzard with a chance of dangerous rocks, Spikes, and gigantic dragons.

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