What Moves You: Later Gen Moves that would redefine RBY

By Deck Knight. Art by Furosoto.
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Crystal_ has done a fabulous job of retrofitting new Pokémon into RBY OU; check out his articles in this and the previous issue of The Smog! My goal will be to answer the question "what if all the new moves we're used to were in Gen 1?" Gen 1 was interesting because it was completely unbalanced from a moves perspective, with some types getting excellent, high-powered attacks with good distribution and others, such as Fighting, Poison, and Bug, getting the short end of the stick. This article explores what would happen if you re-tipped the scales.


Any speculative article like this is bound to run into trouble when you get to rebuilding learnsets with new moves. Here are the assumptions I'm using.

  1. The Pokémon must learn the newer gen move in its level-up movepool in any gen to qualify. This isn't one of those GSC Egg Tradebacks fantasy fests (I also don't want the RBY players to kill me...).
  2. No Gen I moves added to the Pokémon's movepool in later Gens will qualify. Essentially my assumption is that these new moves would be transplanted directly into the existing RBY movepool.
  3. No new gen Pokémon—as awesome as it is to envision newer gen Pokémon with moves, that would make it more like grafting RBY mechanics onto Gen V than putting new gen moves on older Pokémon.
  4. Move clones in later gens will revert back to their closest original gen counterpart (e.g. Outrage would be 90 BP to match its GSC counterpart [Petal Dance didn't get the BP upgrade until DP], Leaf Blade would be its original 70 BP, etc.)
  5. No Dark or Steel damaging moves because they just can't translate back. Non-attacking moves would be considered Normal-type.
  6. Acrobatics and Shell Smash will not be considered due to Acrobatics requiring items to exist before its effect makes sense, and due to Shell Smash increasing Special Attack by 2 and decreasing Special Defense by 1; it will not be considered because its mechanics are simply too incompatible with RBY's Special stat.
  7. Circle Throw and Dragon Tail's switching effect doesn't work because Roar and Whirlwind don't work in RBY. Power Swap and Guard Swap would exchange Atk/Special and Def/Special boosts, respectively. In general, if the effect was in RBY, now moves with the same effect replicate that effect, even if that effect is utter failure.

Damaging Attacks



Hurricane's accuracy is sketchy at 70%, but the move is so powerful and on two of the strongest Pokémon that it simply can't be ignored. Dragonite's Hurricane is the single most powerful non-critical hit drawback-free move in the game, utilizing its brutal 366 Attack to maximum advantage. Moltres enjoys having a Flying STAB it can actually use off its 298 Attack, though it still has problems with Golem and Rhydon. Pidgeot is happy to have something other than Wing Attack as a Flying move, and Articuno's Hurricane, while not strong, still gives it a decent STAB combination. The confusion chance is what really makes the attack insidious.

Megahorn / X-Scissor


These moves are similar because of the irony that all the Megahorn users lack STAB, and all the X-Scissor users have STAB. We'll go over Megahorn first. Without a doubt, Megahorn would raise the tier of every one of these Pokémon except Rhydon (which is already OU) simply by making them threaten Psychic-type dominance. While Seaking gets an attack that makes it relevant, Rapidash is probably the biggest winner—with Agility, it can outspeed anything in OU and its Megahorn can often OHKO Alakazam, obliterates Exeggutor, and can OHKO Starmie with a crit. Add Fire Spin in for the chip damage you need, and it's good night.


Reliable Bug STAB that can actually damage Psychics. That would have made a world of difference to these three Pokémon, and each of them would use X-Scissor well. Parasect would not just be used for Spore; Scyther would become an amazing fast threat, utilizing it's 20.5% crit rate to great effect. Pinsir's combination of strong offense, no crippling 4x weaknesses, and competent defense would allow it easy entry into OU.. It also turns all of these Pokémon into Gengar's worst nightmare—the type chart in RBY actually makes Gengar WEAK to Bug.

Psycho Cut


Only one OU Pokémon learns this attack in RBY: Alakazam. This move would take Zam and move it into the tier with the other RBY Psycho Cut learner, Mewtwo. Because of RBY's mechanics, Psycho Cut is effectively a Psychic with 56% more power that ignores Light Screen and Amnesia boosts on opponents. Psycho Cut is actually stronger than Psychic *after* it causes a Special drop. There is literally nothing except other Psychics and Chansey that can switch into Psycho Cut and not be subsequently crippled by Thunder Wave or KOed by a second Psycho Cut. Even Snorlax is 2HKOed by it if it rolls 1 HP above average damage either time.

Air Slash


Air Slash is a Flying attack with only a medium level of power, but an excellent effect on what are mostly fairly fast Pokémon. It gives Charizard and Scyther their best form of Flying STAB, and both of them can use Swords Dance to buff its power. Golbat and Farfetch'd have the stronger Air Cutter to work with, while Pidgeot and Moltres can use Hurricane—though a supporting Sunny Day Moltres will end up using Air Slash for STAB.



So, AncientPower. A lot learns it, and Rock coverage is great to have. In fact, it's quite odd; AncientPower would be the only form of STAB ANY of the RBY Fossils have. While most of these Pokémon would just be fishing for boosts, it does help Tangela and Articuno against Fire-types, and Kabutops isn't opposed to a STAB move to use after Swords Dance. Aerodactyl however loves the prospect of finally having STAB in RBY without resorting to Lance's Game Shark. The stat boosts on AncientPower would be lethal with no effective way to phaze them.

Cross Chop


Decent Fighting STAB was nearly impossible to come by in RBY, and Fighting Pokémon suffered a lot as a result. Even without Psychic dominance, they still would have had use against Snorlax, Tauros, and Chansey. Enter Cross Chop, which for Machamp would crit 86% of the time and would always crit for Primeape. For Primeape, Close Combat poses some competition for the slot because of its better accuracy, but Machamp has nothing else, and really doesn't need anything else. Instead of wasting its decent HP using Submission on Chansey, it can just wipe it out in one blow, critical or not.

Close Combat / Superpower


Finally, a Fighting move with decent Base Power. While Close Combat would not be nearly as good as it is in later generations because the extremes between Attack and Defense aren't as high without natures or EVs, there's no question it would strike fear into the heart of Snorlax, Tauros, and Chansey. Close Combat would be similarly risky as it is now, decreasing both Defense and Special, but nothing with Close Combat uses Special-based attacks anyway (No, not even Hitmonchan). Chansey is completely obliterated by Hitmonchan's and Primeape's Close Combat even without a critical hit. Hitmonlee is the only one that can OHKO Tauros if it gets a high damage roll. Superpower is much more sketchy because it lowers Attack and Defense, but its raw power and ability to score OHKOs on Golem and Rhydon after a Swords Dance boost in Pinsir's case make it deadly. Either way, strong Fighting STAB would be frightening for some of OU's top threats.

Drill Run


Drill Run's distribution isn't great, but the two Pokémon that get it can put it to good use. Dodrio is the biggest winner among the Normal / Flying Pokémon mostly by default by having the highest Attack stat. Drill Run would change Fearow's lot by giving it a way to hit Golem, Rhydon, and probably more importantly Jolteon. Rhydon is the more interesting recipient. Unfortunately, Rhydon is so slow that it only has a 62% chance of a critical hit with Drill Run, but Drill Run's advantage over Earthquake is that it would ignore Reflect.

Giga Drain


Basically a move upgrade on Mega Drain, reverted to the 5 PP it had in GSC. The PP loss is unfortunate, but it's well worth it for the 50% increase in power, allowing Grass-types that don't have Razor Leaf to, you know, actually OHKO Golem and Rhydon with a STAB super effective attack.

Ice Shard


Only one move has even a prayer of keeping Dragonite in check, and it's this one. Ice Shard would be a Special-based priority, and coincidentally, all of its users have much decent Special, with Articuno's being the highest. The simple ability to revenge kill Dragonite, as well as peg Flying-type Roosters before they can use the move, makes it invaluable.

Leaf Blade / Leaf Storm


Leaf Blade is a simple buff to Victreebel, but not at all unwelcome, giving it a stronger, even more accurate STAB critical attack. Victreebel also learns Leaf Storm, but it's utterly inferior to Leaf Blade. On Exeggutor, Leaf Storm would earn the distinction of the riskiest viable move to use in RBY OU, being able to put out massive damage but having the worst drawback, -2 Special, of any attack that exists. Got a problem with Blizzard Starmie and Slowbro? Now you don't.

Sludge Wave / Sludge Bomb


Decent Poison STAB doesn't seem like it would affect much, but remember in RBY that Poison is super effective against Bug (and vice versa). As such, with stronger Bug threats, Poison-types also get a circumstantial boost. Tentacruel can use Sludge Wave to great effect with Swords Dance, while Muk and Weezing appreciate having a decent STAB attack (Sludge Bomb in Weezing's case) to use so that their primary means of offense isn't Exploding. On that note, Weezing also gets Destiny Bond to aid it against powerful switch-ins that would be too fast for it to boom on. Muk is tragically stuck with its low Speed and Special, so it can't make much use of its Fighting resistance—even Machamp outruns it. And it's slower than Exeggutor. I guess in RBY, Muk is just a pile of, errm, Muk.

Stone Edge


Basically none of Rock Slide's STAB users can hope for a flinch from it unless their opponent is paralyzed, which makes Stone Edge's only real downside its accuracy. While only Onix can get a guaranteed crit out of it (and let's be honest, Onix actually needs a Stone Edge crit to be competent at doing any damage to anything), Golem and Rhydon don't mind getting their crit rate boosted above Electrode levels on their STAB move.

Wood Hammer / Power Whip


Exeggutor's Wood Hammer would have a somewhat manageable recoil at 1/4th damage, but would still be inadvisable because Exeggutor enjoys its bulk quite a bit, and it has Leaf Storm as an alternative that is risky in a different way. Power Whip gives Tangela an excellent and relatively drawback-free STAB, sitting at 85% accuracy. Lickitung unfortunately doesn't really have the Special to use it even though it hits Golem and Rhydon harder than Surf while also damaging Water-types.

Support Moves



There's one nifty thing you should know about Roost users. To the last Pokémon, they all have Agility. This means that, barring the turn immediately after they are paralyzed, they have a 50% recovery move that can also remove their most troubling weaknesses. The only two Roosters who might care about losing the Ground immunity are Zapdos and Moltres, but Roost won't really affect their performance against Golem and Rhydon as such anyway. Needless to say, a Flying-type Recover is absolutely golden in RBY.

Slack Off


Notable primarily for its user, which also has access to Amnesia. Slowbro with reliable recovery is incredibly dangerous, as it's also one of the bulkiest Pokémon in general.

Synthesis / Moonlight


Venusaur and Vileplume both get a weather-based healing move, and their ability to strike most opposing weather users for powerful STAB, super effective damage with Razor Leaf or Giga Drain (respectively) is extremely helpful in preventing the opponent from setting up that weather. Clefable enjoys getting a reliable recovery move as well; I wonder why it never got Softboiled earlier.

Spikes / Stealth Rock


What is more annoying than being Clamp-stalled by Cloyster? Being Clamp-stalled by Cloyster while knowing your switch will either a) take 12.5% damage from Spikes or b) be susceptible to STAB, super effective Blizzard. Residual damage in RBY puts a ton of Pokémon in general KO or Hyper Beam KO range, and Cloyster has the stats and movepool to abuse it to maximum effect. Stealth Rock users don't have as much internal synergy, but the hazard is much more defining. Stealth Rock is perhaps the only move that could possibly balance out Roost and the plethora of Bug and/or Flying Pokémon that would threaten Psychics. Onix sets up Stealth Rock faster, but Golem has much more durability.

Toxic Spikes


Let's talk about Toxic in RBY. Toxic is terrible, and most opponents actually wanted to get poisoned rather than paralyzed or burned. This means that for all practical purposes, 1 layer of Toxic Spikes is all that is needed. A few things change in the landscape of RBY that makes Toxic Spikes potentially viable. First, abilities don't exist, so there's no Levitate, Immunity, or Natural Cure to reduce their effectiveness, nor Guts to benefit from it. Facade doesn't exist either because nothing in RBY learns it from level-up. Items are also non-existent, so there's no Leftovers to reduce poison damage or Lum Berry to nullify it. Finally, with only 3 spinners, 2 of which have heavy competition for moveslots, it's quite easy to ensure your Toxic Spikes aren't squandered. The very existence of hazard stacking means that residual damage can pile up quickly. Basically, Toxic Spikes along with a lot of the more defensive strategies RBY allows can give your team an advantage. The fact that Cloyster can use them along with Spikes and Clamp also contributes to how quickly you could pile damage up.

Rapid Spin


The bad news for the Stealth Rockers is that all 3 spinners can hit them for super effective damage, and Sandlash and Starmie have a move that can defeat spin-blocker Gengar, while Blastoise is generally difficult to get rid of. However, while Blastoise and Sandslash have the moveslot, Starmie really doesn't. It is already pulled in a multitude of directions, and in the end this is probably a healthy thing for the RBY metagame.



Freeze and sleep were basically the same as a KO in RBY. Aromatherapy can reverse those two statuses, and both users are slow enough so that unless they are put to sleep or frozen, they can heal the status without worrying about it being inflicted on them. A very useful niche for Parasect and Vileplume, which are not really hurting for moveslots.

Baton Pass

mr. mimevaporeonjolteonflareon

Baton Pass is an interesting concept for RBY in that it lets you pass stats and effects around to sweepers. The Baton Passers themselves are generally decent, although each of them can pass at least Reflect (which should work as it's now individualized) and Substitute. Mr. Mime can pass Barrier, Reflect, Light Screen, or Meditate, as well as Encore a foe for more setup time. Jolteon can pass Agility, and Vaporeon can pass Acid Armor.

Detect / Protect


The ability to avoid any attack for an action is very helpful, especially with reliance on high-power, low PP moves like Hyper Beam and Blizzard. So few Pokémon get these attacks that they are in a sort of niche of their own, but the ability to scout the set of something like Rhydon is very useful. They would also be the only means other than a Gengar switch to be able to eat an Explosion and live to tell the tale, since in RBY an Explosion on a Substitute doesn't KO the Explosion user!


clefabledewgongmr. mime

Easily one of the most disruptive moves ever created, and it would be highly annoying if you switched in on a resisted attack. Encore forces a lot of switches, and with a lot more viable non-attacking moves, would be a great answer to those threats.

Mean Look / Block


Trapping moves are difficult to use effectively because switches are so common, but combined with RBY's sleep mechanics, the move is dangerous on two Pokémon in particular. Jynx can combine Mean Look with Lovely Kiss and Perish Song to easily get the drop on walls. Gengar can use it with Hypnosis to keep anything slower at bay until it overcomes them. Golbat and Snorlax find much less use for it, with Golbat really only being able to annoy with Confuse Ray and Snorlax's Yawn being much too slow to be a successful overall strategy to devote two moves to.

Perish Song


While Perish Song loses some of its effectiveness because there is no way to effectively trap foes or wear down the counter (Jynx doesn't have the bulk to pull off both Mean Look and Perish Song, and Protect isn't universal), it is still one of the most annoying moves in the game.

Sand Tomb


Trapping moves were highly aggravating in RBY because of their chip damage and the fact that they prevent the opponent from attacking. The three Pokémon that get Sand Tomb each have something unique to benefit from it. As a spinner, Sandslash could use the move to prevent the switch-ins of fellow spinners, who ironically could not spin out of it thanks to its RBY mechanics. Dugtrio is faster than most of OU, tying with Alakazam in Speed, and could use this to its advantage. Onix has access to Rock Polish and Stealth Rock, essentially making its niche to annoy, spread hazard damage, and then either use Stone Edge to try to damage or just Explosion on a spinner to prevent the spin.

Cosmic Power


Cosmic Power would be an epic stat booster in RBY, turning the two Pokémon that use it into incredibly bulky and threatening special attackers. This is especially true because both now have a 50% recovery move. This brings Clefable into viable territory and has the potential to break Starmie.

Dragon Dance


Dragon Dance would be no less powerful a stat-booster in RBY than it was be when it was introduced in ADV, and it would change the life of one Pokémon while improving another and sending the third to Ubers. Seadra's movepool is shallow, but Dragon Dance makes it faster than everything in RBY while also boosting its Attack; with the Attack boosts and Smokescreen it could become very dangerous very quickly. Gyarados is more interesting as it already has its attack slots full, but Dragon Dance does work incredibly well with Body Slam and Hyper Beam and makes Gyarados faster than every Pokémon in RBY. Then there's Dragonite, who like Seadra will drop Agility because Dragon Dance makes it as fast as it needs to be and buffs its incredible Attack. I don't think any one attack would make Dragonite Uber, but the combination of attacks it gets definitely would.

Fake Tears / Metal Sound


On the other side of the stats spectrum, Fake Tears and Metal Sound drastically reduce the offense and defense of any opposing switch-in, and both Jynx and Magneton happen to be excellent special attackers, while Kabutops has good Special coverage. This forces a ton of switches, because opponents that stay in either need physical attacks or they need to get out. Magneton is probably the worst user even though it has the highest Special because it really does nothing to help it against Golem and Rhydon.

Nasty Plot


An Amnesia clone when retrofitted back to RBY, and like Bite, given Normal typing. Naturally, all three of its users benefit from it a great deal, with Ninetales getting abuff to its STAB Fire moves and new, flinch-inducing coverage Extrasensory, Hypno to its Psychic attacks, and Persian to its special coverage moves, making it the fastest +2 Special booster not named Mewtwo.

Rock Polish


Our friends Golem and Onix are here again, and both of them get access to Rock Polish. The paralysis ignoring effect is pretty much irrelevant, as anything with Stun Spore is going to crush them with Grass attacks, and they're immune to Thunder Wave. The Speed boost is amazing though, making Golem jet past everything except Electrode (which can't do anything to Golem anyway, including its pitiful Explosion). Onix doesn't really have the offensive presence to use Rock Polish, but as you'll see later, it probably still will, if only because that would be its singular niche.

Work Up


Tauros is one of the defining Pokémon in OU, and Work Up gives it an option on its standard set that makes it more threatening and specially bulky. Work Up would most likely replace Body Slam because the primary way Tauros operates is to get an opponent into KO range and finish them off with Hyper Beam, and Body Slam's paralysis, while very useful, is not a given in using the move. While Tauros does have a special movepool it could use with Work Up, its base Special is too low and going one boost at a time makes it too slow to get going.

RBY Weather Wars



Rain Dance




Sunny Day


To the extent weather would be used at all, RBY would indeed be a rain-dominated metagame. There are more rain summoners than any other type, there are more Pokémon that can utilize rain either right away or with the 3 turns after a switch, and the only thing truly lacking for most rain summoners is decent Speed. The only possible negative consequence for using rain is that, sensing this, your opponent has given most of their Pokémon Thunder to punish this likelihood and net KOs they would otherwise miss with Thunderbolt.

This is not to say there would not be anti-metagame sets. Moltres could easily run a set of Sunny Day / Air Slash / Fire Blast / Agility to stall out rain or set up its own sun. Articuno can counter the strategy with its excellent Special and Hail, while Dewgong can use Hail with Blizzard, Surf, and Signal Beam to threaten much of the OU metagame.

Sandslash is the only thing that would possibly run Sandstorm. Onix has a niche of its own, and wouldn't bother enhancing its chip damage from Sand Tomb with Sandstorm when it really can't survive anything but physical attacks. Sandslash usually has better things to do though, and it has to fit Rapid Spin on its set already. Earthquake / Sandstorm / Rapid Spin / [Sand Tomb / Rock Slide] seems the most likely anti-metagame set, though it will want paralysis to back up Sand Tomb as otherwise it will want Rock Slide as to not be completely wasted by Flying-types.

Truthfully, sand and hail are the least relevant weathers to the metagame, much as they were in every generation before auto-weather. Unlike BW2, where weather is the king of every aspect of the metagame, its use when retrofitted to an ability-less RBY metagame is greatly diminished. While it isn't quite the same as when weather was first introduced in GSC (and expanded in ADV), a lot more moves have weather interactions than before, and their distribution to relevant Pokémon is much higher. Mechanics-wise, sun makes Synthesis/Moonlight 100% healing moves, while rain makes Hurricane a devastatingly powerful attack. While these are small individually, they make the case for the moves as a strategy. Sand and hail don't offer the kind of benefits that rain and sun do, and limited duration along with no abilities or items means those moves will probably never find use.

Other Considerations

There are a lot of moves from newer generations that would completely reshape RBY, but even mentioning these most important moves doesn't tell the whole story. The biggest change from RBY is that you can expect almost every Pokémon you encounter to have a usable STAB attack. If you are weak to that STAB, that Pokémon can threaten you. In other words, don't switch Exeggutor into Scyther thinking the worst that can happen is a laughably weak Wing Attack. It has X-Scissor now and can wipe you out.

Coverage and niche moves should also be considered. A lot of Pokémon have notable coverage that for brevity was not explicitly mentioned. Kingler for example has Mud Shot so it can outspeed anything but Electrode (and Flying mons immune to Mud Shot) if it strikes with the move as they switch in. Ninetales has Will-O-Wisp to directly inflict burn and Extrasensory so its offense is not one-dimensional. Pinsir has a stupid amount of Fighting coverage that can do anything from never miss to provide a powerful onslaught that would necessitate a switch (Vital Throw and Superpower, respectively.) Although there is more coverage in general, most of it lies along the lines of either decent Fighting moves or weaker moves relatively unique to the Pokémon. Keeping with our Pinsir example, it gets a lot of Fighting moves, but since it does not get Rock Slide until a later gen, Moltres and Charizard counter it perfectly.

With that in mind, several Pokémon in RBY now have a terrible case of Four Move-Slot Syndrome (4MSS), with Cloyster probably being the best example by having its traditional set, a Spikes-stacking set, and a set that can revenge kill with a combination of hazards and Ice Shard. Other Pokémon probably have two viable sets, like Moltres which can be used in rain with Hurricane or have a sun set with Air Slash instead.

The Biggest Winners

Biggest Buffs



Expected Set: Drill Peck / Drill Run / Agility / Hyper Beam

Fearow for a long time was considered a bad Dodrio, and for good reason. It had basically the same movepool but was a lot weaker, and the exact same Speed. Drill Run changes that, giving Fearow a way to break through Golem and Rhydon with Spikes support and allowing it to OHKO Jolteon as a bonus. Fearow still has problems with Zapdos, but the expansion of more viable Bug- and Grass-type targets help it out quite a bit. While Fearow could use Roost over Agility, it's a much better offensive than defensive Pokémon and should focus on that skill.



Expected Set: Megahorn / Earthquake / Toxic Spikes / Blizzard

Nidoking got a great coverage move in Megahorn and a decent support move in Toxic Spikes, provided the team is capable of stalling opponents out with trapping moves. Psychic-types now have to watch out when they switch in, and Nidoking can also absorb opposing Toxic Spikes. Earthquake rounds out the set with STAB and Blizzard hits the Flying-types that the Earthquake / Megahorn combination can't really touch. One interesting note is that Nidoking can use Captivate against Chansey to lower its Special, as RBY Pokémon *do* have gender values as transferring into GSC can attest.



Expected Set: Spore / X-Scissor / Aromatherapy / Giga Drain

Parasect got a huge relative boost by actually being able to do something other than Spore, but its low Speed and huge weaknesses will probably hold it back. Stone Edge makes Golem and Rhydon way too threatening to switch in on, so Parasect has nowhere to really go. It is possible it may find a use given it tends to be either very strong against a threat or very weak to it, but at least Parasect has a useful, not-entirely gimmicky purpose to it now.



Expected Set: Earthquake / Mud-Slap / Sand Tomb / Rock Slide

Dugtrio only really had Speed going for it in RBY, and it's quite fortunate to have picked up a tool that lets it use that natural speed extremely well in Sand Tomb. One other move complements Dugtrio in this task, and that's Mud-Slap. Mud-Slap might be weak, but unlike Sand-Attack, it does damage, which means it can, along with Sand Tomb, chip away and infuriate foes while blocking a spin. Earthquake and Rock Slide should make up the final moveslots, the latter because it hits Flying-types harder than Slash; Duggy has a decent crit rate anyway, and Rock Slide can flinch to cause even more fury.



Expected Set: Encore / Signal Beam / Icy Wind / [Surf / Blizzard]

Dewgong picked up a lot of new moves, but unfortunately without items or EVs, priority attacks off of its offenses just don't cut it. What Dewgong does get is a combination of disruptive attacks and coverage that give it the ability to bypass foes. Icy Wind allows it to deal damage and get the drop on every Pokémon except base 130 and above to Encore their last action. Signal Beam gives Dewgong a way to hit Psychic Pokémon with high Special and lower Defense, while Surf or Blizzard gives it a consistent offensive attack.



Expected Set: Stealth Rock / Rock Polish / Sand Tomb / [Stone Edge / Explosion]

Onix on the other hand goes from being entirely useless to having a single purpose. Its 238 Speed allows it to set up Stealth Rock on opponents Golem can't, its combination of Rock Polish and Sand Tomb is incredibly annoying if it ever gets a chance to set that up, and to top it all off, it can approach credible damage with an always-critting Stone Edge, or just use Explosion to prevent a spinner from removing its hazard. Onix is still terrible in general, but as a backup Stealth Rocker / chip spreader, ] it does alright.



Expected Set: Close Combat / Mach Punch / [Detect / Seismic Toss] / Body Slam

So here's the thing with RBY. Fighting-types had terrible STAB moves (lol Submission) and really no way to capitalize on their one advantage, which was theoretically providing a threat to Normal-types like Tauros. While Hitmonchan's stats still leave much to be desired, it picked up two moves that make it very unique. The combination of Close Combat with Mach Punch / Vacuum Wave (the two are interchangeable) gives Hitmonchan a way to strike extremely hard, then follow up with a priority attack. Detect gives Hitmonchan a way to scout sets, avoid Explosion, or build poison damage from Toxic Spikes, while Seismic Toss gives it some consistency and can at least harm Gengar. Hitmonchan's middling Speed and decent Defense is actually an asset, as against many foes itcan Close Combat after their attack and follow up with priority. It's a unique niche, and it should be noted that MP / VC can take off about 29% of Tauros's health on average.



Expected Set: Hydro Pump / Metal Sound / Ancientpower / Blizzard

Kabutops was originally used as a decent Swords Dancer, but with no STAB it only had Normal attacks and wasn't that good at the job. Even though it does have physical STAB now, Metal Sound is a much better bet for Kabutops. Although it has only 85% Accuracy, its effect shreds special attackers, and Kabutops can follow up with Hydro Pump or Blizzard—both used because of their superior power given Kabutops's mediocre 238 Special. Given the number of switches Metal Sound could force, AncientPower makes sense as the final attack by not allowing Kabutops's much better 328 Attack to go unused and also giving it a chance to boost its own stats. While I don't think it would hit OU because of Metal Sound's imperfect accuracy, it would certainly be threatening. Kabutops has also improved its standard Swords Dance set, being able to utilize Swords Dance / AncientPower / Surf / Hyper Beam quite effectively, especially if AncientPower results in a stat boost.

Most Relevant

These Pokémon not only got buffs but will likely find a place on many teams. Whether they would all end up in OU is highly disputable, but they each have something unique to add to the core of a team, some to a much greater extent than others. With almost every type being capable of competent offense of each of their types, resistances are much more important because almost every type is now relevant.



Expected Set: Swords Dance / Razor Leaf / Hyper Beam / Synthesis

Venusaur is kind of the middle ground between Victreebel and Vileplume. It has more Speed and Defense than both of them, but less power than the former and less utility than the latter. Still, Venusaur picks up an amazing move in Synthesis, giving it much more durability and chances to set up. Venusaur can survive a Steamroller from Rock Polish Golem (though it will be 2HKOed if flinched), and it OHKOes both Golem and Rhydon with Razor Leaf. The fourth slot in any mixed set will likely be a fight between Swords Dance, Sleep Power, and Synthesis.



Expected Set: Surf / Rapid Spin / Rain Dance / Blizzard

Blastoise was always very mediocre compared to other Water-types, but now it can take on the role of support Pokémon that it tends to have in later generations. It's faster than both Golem and Onix and can OHKO them with Surf. It can set up Rain Dance to boost its own Surf damage and support allies with Thunder and Hurricane. It has Rapid Spin to remove other hazards if they should go up, and it has Protect to avoid Explosion and scout sets. It may drop one or the other, but its general bulk with mid-range Speed makes it quite effective.



Expected Set: Earthquake / Rapid Spin / Swords Dance / Rock Slide

As the only other OU spinner, Sandslash can earn its keep removing hazards while threatening Golem and Onix with its STAB Earthquake. It also has Sand Tomb to provide chip damage and stall out a weather, or it can change it directly with Sandstorm, though the move is not otherwise effective. It resists Stealth Rock as well which is very handy, although it cannot directly threaten Cloyster since it's slower and Rock Slide technically has the same power as Earthquake against it.



Expected Set: Cosmic Power / Moonlight / Thunderbolt / Blizzard

Clefable gets one of the more powerful combinations of new moves in Cosmic Power + Moonlight, allowing it to boost its Defense and Special and tank by recovering its HP. Clefable also has excellent coverage in BoltBeam, although depending on your team you could easily run alternative coverage. What Clefable does have to watch out for is Fighting-types, as Cross Chop smashes right through Cosmic Power, and even if it chose to run Psychic, Machamp can still survive and other fighters are faster than Clefable.



Expected Set: Nasty Plot / [Fire Blast / Flamethrower] / Will-O-Wisp / Fire Spin

Ninetales can act as a part of F/W/G core by providing immense offensive pressure with its combination of Nasty Plot along with Fire Spin for chip damage and Fire Blast / Flamethrower depending on whether you want power or consistency. Will-O-Wisp provides Ninetales a fairly reliable means to cripple physical attackers. While Extrasensory is not much stronger than a resisted Flamethrower (and weaker than Fire Blast) it can also flinch foes, but since the power differential is slight and the flinch chance only 10%, Will-O-Wisp will likely be used more often. With 100 Speed / Special, Ninetales is not easily trifled with.



Expected Set: Aromatherapy / Moonlight / Giga Drain / [Sleep Powder / Stun Spore]

Vileplume benefits most from its niche in Aromatherapy, allowing it to remove sleep and freeze conditions from teammates. In contrast to Parasect, which has a great deal of 4x weaknesses, Vileplume's only 4x weakness is to Bug, which is more prolific now but not to the extent that Fire + Flying + Poison is. Vileplume also gained Moonlight to regain health and Giga Drain to improve its Grass-type offense. Either Sleep Powder or Stun Spore can be used in the 4th slot.



Expected Set: Cross Chop / Close Combat / Final Gambit / Body Slam

With resistance to Stealth Rock and a strong Fighting attack in an always-critting Cross Chop, Primeape earns distinction as the sole Pokémon that can always OHKO Cloyster with a physical attack. Primeape also has access to the powerful and accurate Close Combat, and another unique trick in Final Gambit. Unfortunately, Primeape's 333 HP is rather low. Where Machamp is slower and bulkier, Primeape's Speed allows it to get the drop on a wide variety of Ice-type Pokémon and break through them.



Expected Set: Cross Chop / Earthquake / Body Slam / Hyper Beam

Machamp only gained one move of note, but it's a very good one. Cross Chop gives Machamp a STAB that isn't weak or suicidal, allowing it to completely crush Chansey in a single blow, critical or no. Speaking of criticals, Cross Chop's crit rate is 85.93%, and with Machamp's high Attack, even resists need to beware. Machamp got a few other decent Fighting moves, like the lowered priority but -- Acc Vital Throw and the Speed-reducing Low Sweep, and the monstrously-powerful-if-damaged-that-turn Revenge, but Cross Chop is the best mix of utility and power despite the accuracy. Machamp is in many ways a counterbalance to Golem w/ Psychics, being able to defeat it with Cross Chop before it can set up rocks and resisting Stealth Rock.



Expected Set: Leaf Blade / Stun Spore / Wrap / [Hyper Beam / Sleep Powder]

With Leaf Blade being an enhancement on the already powerful Razor Leaf, plus a metagame full of boosters, strong attacks, and fast Pokémon, Victreebel will probably find its best utility in spreading paralysis, trapping foes, and finishing them off. Since Victreebel doesn't have healing like many of its Grass brethren, offense is the best way for it to go. Victreebel's typing is still 4x weak to Bug, but Poison neutrality makes it more reliable against oddball teams using Poison-types that can now get the drop on Exeggutor. Victreebel can still come in and threaten them, and its ability to paralyze and Wrap is invaluable in a hazard metagame.



Expected Set: Sludge Wave / Swords Dance / Surf / Wrap

This set will look familiar to GSC fans; it's the Swords Dance set with Wrap replacing Substitute, since Substitute doesn't do what it's supposed to in RBY. Since Tentacruel is at the height of its relative stats in RBY and Sludge Wave happens to be almost as strong as Earthquake, Tentacruel's combination of Speed and offense will overwhelm many foes. It is helpful to have paralysis support, especially because Bugs can hit it hard too, but in the case of RBY, Poison is actually a decent counterbalance to Bug. Since only Scyther and Rapidash outspeed it among Bug- and Fire-types respectively (Rapidash has Megahorn), just be cautious around them and try to catch them on the switch.



Expected Set: Stone Edge / [Stealth Rock / Explosion] / Earthquake / Steamroller

Golem was already OU, but its access to Stealth Rock, Rock Polish, and Steamroller give it a metagame-changing hazard, a means to get the drop on counters should it choose to do so and threaten them with Explosion, and a way to dispose of one of its most effective counters, Exeggutor (with bonus points if you can flinch Starmie). Stealth Rock may be the only thing that can keep Bug-types from being complete checks to Psychics, and it also harms a great deal of popular Pokémon. You should expect your opponent to lead with something to KO Golem; Stealth Rock is that crucial to keep off the field. Stone Edge is extremely helpful to Golem with a 70.31% critical rate and the same initial power as Earthquake. Golem in general has 4MSS now, so if it wants to Stealth Rock and Rock Polish on the same set, its coverage has to suffer. Bulldoze can be used over Earthquake so that Golem still has some Ground coverage and can make it faster than anything with 282 or less Speed (Base 90 = 278).



Expected Set: Fire Blast / Megahorn / Flame Charge / Fire Spin

Rapidash gains two moves that are extremely helpful to it. Megahorn's average damage is 178 {about 45%} , so it can 2HKO Slowbro with Spikes or Stealth Rock down, or with a combination of Megahorn, Fire Spin chip damage, and another Megahorn—risky, but possible. The other move is Flame Charge, which stated succinctly is a damaging Agility in effect. Flame Charge allows Rapidash to get opponents into KO range much more easily. Fire Blast / Megahorn / Flame Charge / Fire Spin would be fearsome in its ability to chip damage into KO range and set up for a kill—the accuracy is the only real let-down. Rapidash could also use Bounce to get the drop on Fighting-types, and their switching out isn't cost free because of the paralysis chance, but Bounce is still fairly risky.



Expected Set: Surf / Amnesia / Thunder Wave / Slack Off

Slowbro picks up the only move it ever wanted in RBY in the form of Slack Off. With reliable recovery, Amnesia Slowbro becomes a true menace with a lot of staying power. Only the proliferation of strong Bug moves can really keep it in check, along with its low general Speed. Slowbro also gets a viable support set with Rain Dance, which it can use either in conjunction with Amnesia to further boost its impressive Surf damage or without it to keep Thunder Wave in its support arsenal.



Expected Set: Spikes / Clamp / Blizzard / [Hyper Beam / Explosion]

It is difficult to conceive of a more annoying strategy than Spikes / Toxic Spikes + Clamp. The chip damage makes it much easier to score KOs, and there is no way to really avoid it. In the last slot, Hyper Beam and Explosion both provide a means of physically attacking foes, with Explosion being an excellent nuclear option while Hyper Beam can finish off Spikes + Clamp weakened foes. Cloyster has other options, including Brine which does destructive damage to anything below 50% HP. Ice Shard is also very useful on Cloyster sets by introducing the concept of revenge killing and allowing it to get the drop on Zapdos. Cloyster is also one of the few Pokémon that can get Protect to scout out foes. Basically, Cloyster has 4MSS, but its key new moves are the hazards.



Expected Set: Nasty Plot / Psyshock / Psychic / [Hypnosis / Thunder Wave]

With Alakazam and Starmie gone, the field opens up for other Psychic-types to take their place, and Hypno is quite capable. With Nasty Plot, Hypno can raise its Special to fantastic levels and from there utilize a number of Psychic-type attacks to achieve its goal, which in combination make Hypno a truly terrifying mixed sweeper. While Psychic is good, Hypno can also consider Psyshock and Zen Headbutt. The former is weaker against traditional opponents Psychic tends to defeat, like Golem and Rhydon, but it easily overwhelms Chansey and gives Hypno a trump in the Amnesia wars. Zen Headbutt on the other hand is weaker and less accurate than Psychic, but can work in conjunction with Thunder Wave to flinch. Hypno's further access to Hypnosis makes it very easy to set up a sweep.



Expected Set: Stone Edge / Megahorn / Substitute / [Drill Run / Earthquake]

Where Golem received the boon of Stealth Rock, Rhydon got its power amped up to amazing levels by actually giving it a chance to critical hit with some level of regularity—it also received the ultimate coverage move. Drill Run and Stone Egde have less accuracy than their counterparts, but have a 62.5% chance to land a critical hit. Drill Run is normally weaker than Earthquake, so there can be a legitimate debate over the two since Earthquake has more immediate power and accuracy without the critical. Stone Edge vs. Rock Slide however is a case of two imperfectly accurate moves where the former is stronger with or without a critical. Megahorn absolutely destroys Exeggutor, Vileplume, Venusaur, and Victreebel.



Expected Set: Power Whip / Ancientpower / Stun Spore / Bind

As the only Grass-type that doesn't carry a nasty 4x weakness (or weaknesses) to something, Tangela's vastly improved movepool makes it a viable option for a core. AncientPower gives it a way to damage Fire- and Flying-types, hitting some of them for 4x damage and giving Tangela a chance to raise all it stats, while Power Whip gives Tangela the power of SolarBeam without the charge turn. Power Whip is actually stronger than Razor Leaf would have been. Combined with Stun Spore to paralyze foes and Bind to bring them into KO range, Tangela provides something different and valuable. Tangela can of course always fall back to a Swords Dance set, use Sleep Powder, or use Giga Drain—but those are all options you can use based on the team you want to have.



Expected Set: X-Scissor / Air Slash / Swords Dance / Vacuum Wave

With the two fastest Psychic-type threats with Thunder Wave removed (one of which had Thunderbolt and Blizzard), Scyther finds itself in an excellent position by outspeeding all remaining Psychic-types as well as all Poison-types (bar Gengar which is a threat with Thunderbolt, but which Scyther can OHKO), all Fighting-types, and all Grass-types. This makes its STAB combination of X-Scissor and Air Slash particularly lethal, as Scyther's 20.5% crit rate with its 318 Attack puts any of those Pokémon at risk for an OHKO. Air Slash is greater even still because of its flinch rate. Scyther gets one more move of note in Vacuum Wave, which it can use as a last-ditch attack against Tauros. It is no longer walled by Gengar, but instead can OHKO it with X-Scissor while surviving its Thunderbolt. Scyther's only downfall is its huge Stealth Rock weakness and general inability to break Golem or Onix, so it should ideally be used with Blastoise and/or Sandslash to prevent Stealth Rock from going up or staying up.



Expected Set: Lovely Kiss / Perish Song / [Mean Look / Fake Tears] / Blizzard

I can't think of a Pokémon that would be singularly better at causing switches than Jynx. Lovely Kiss gives it the threat of a relatively fast sleep. Perish Song requires your opponent to switch or be KOed. Mean Look combined with Perish Song and Lovely Kiss make walls like Chansey hesitant to switch into Jynx since it can disable slower foes one by one and take them down. Fake Tears alternatively rips special attackers to shreds and allows Jynx to crush them with Blizzard, which additionally has the ability to freeze. In a metagame with hazards, this would make Jynx a very valuable—and very obnoxious—addition to your team. Its Stealth Rock weakness is problematic, but it can OHKO Golem and Onix with Blizzard anyway.



Expected Set: Hyper Beam / Work Up / Earthquake / Blizzard

While Tauros may possibly lament the replacement of Body Slam, Work Up makes Tauros extremely dangerous by bolstering its Attack and Special and turning Hyper Beam into a nuke unto itself. With much of the metagame unable to match Tauros's Speed, early paralysis would likely become very common. The other potential outcome is Fighting-type leads that can stop Golem from utlizing Stealth Rock as well as threatening Tauros. Tauros also has a highly risky confusion move in Swagger, although raw power is more practical for it.



Expected Set: Dragon Dance / Thunderbolt / Hyper Beam / Surf

Gyarados can utilize its new toy Dragon Dance to give some power to its Normal-type moves, specifically Hyper Beam as an epic finisher. Paralysis itself isn't as much a deal for Gyarados because if paralyzed it can just Dragon Dance again. Thunderbolt allows Gyarados to handle other Water-type threats, and Surf OHKOes Golem and Rhydon, no questions asked—they will not switch into Hyper Beam on a whim. Gyarados could make a nice offensive part of a F/W/G core, resisting both Fighting and Bug. If Gyarados can get a few attack boosts, Hyper Beam starts being able to OHKO full health Pokémon, a very scary prospect.



Expected Set: Surf / Rain Dance / Thunder / Blizzard

Lapras has been in OU primarily for a combination of its bulk and moves, but its set has always been kind of hodgepodge. Rain Dance gives Lapras's set a unifying role and allows it to belt out powerful Surfs and Thunders . With Blizzard at its excellent 90% accuracy, it's basically allowed Lapras to go from a slow and steady Pokémon to a much more powerful setup sweeper. That isn't all Lapras can do; it can also run support with Perish Song or, if it needs to pick off foes, run Ice Shard. With Starmie gone, the only other Pokémon that can get in a Thunder war with Lapras is Gyarados, and that's a fight Gyarados isn't going to win.



Expected Set: Blizzard / Hurricane / Roost / [Reflect / Ice Shard]

Articuno was fairly one-dimensional in RBY, as it has been in most generations, because its only real offensive ability was with Ice attacks. Articuno can now take advantage of its dual STAB, and additionally, it has picked up the strongest type-affecting priority move, since Sucker Punch doesn't exist and Extremespeed is limited to Arcanine. The addition of rain and hail both make Articuno stronger, as Hurricane benefits in the former while Blizzard along with residual chip damage benefits in the latter. Articuno rounds out its new set with Roost, allowing it to use its excellent defenses to good effect. The 4x Stealth Rock weakness is bad, but with STAB Blizzard, Articuno threatens both Golem and Onix, and even if it has to take SR damage when it switches in later, it can heal it with Roost. Articuno's set is pretty fixed; its the 4th move that really varies, with Reflect to increase its stalling ability or Ice Shard for priority to aid Articuno's low Speed.



Expected Set: Thunderbolt / Drill Peck / Roost / [Thunder Wave / Agility]

Ol' reliable Zapdos—now with Roost on its regular set to use its unique typing and durability to maximum effect. That's not all Zapdos can do now, though; it can also use Rain Dance with Thunder if it wants to support a team and switch up its Electric STAB. It also has Detect to avoid errant Explosions, and AncientPower I suppose, though Thunderbolt is almost always better. Zapdos is still great; it just has even more options now, with Roost being the most optimal.



Expected Set: Fire Blast / Hurricane / Agility / [Roost / Fire Spin]

The addition of strong Flying STAB as well as a weather that boosts its already impressive Fire-type offense gives Moltres a leg up on the competition. Roost also gives it reliable recovery and a way to mitigate its Rock weakness, though it matters little with Stone Edge being so much stronger and most of the Pokémon with it having Earthquake anyway to catch Moltres on a Roost. The Ice and Electric weaknesses are really where it is most helpful. Sunny Day is particularly noteworthy as a separate set option for being very supportive to Moonlight users, and when using it, replace Hurricane with Air Slash—its flinch chance is quite compelling (along with Roost's weakness reduction).

The Biggest Losers

Sent to Ubers

This is losing only in the sense that it's winning by way too much.



Expected Set: Psychic / Recover / Thunder Wave / [Calm Mind / Psycho Cut]

Psycho Cut breaks Alakazam. It's over 50% more powerful than Psychic, literally 2HKOes everything that isn't part Psychic or Chansey, and given Alakazam's immense Special and Recover, it can switch into a multitude of attackers and reliably overpower them. Even in the absence of that, it would still pick up Calm Mind to use with Psychic so it could engage in "Amnesia wars" to boot.



Expected Set: Cosmic Power / Recover / Psychic / Blizzard

This was a difficult decision, but ultimately I chose to boot Starmie into Ubers because it can pull off an epic sweep with Cosmic Power + Recover and its STAB attacks, has another entirely different viable set (Rapid Spin), and retains viability on its standard set. And really, while CP + Recover is good, Starmie doesn't necessary need Recover, as it can just run 3 attacks and sweep easily late-game. Starmie was always a good Pokémon, and none of its previous sets changed in viability solely because nothing with a decent Bug move can actually outspeed it. The very existence of the Cosmic Power set makes Starmie a huge threat, as only critical hits can break through it and +1 Psychic OHKOes the only Pokémon that can even threaten that KO, Victreebel. Starmie would still have some issues with Zapdos and other Psychics, but they'd have issues with either Thunder Wave or Blizzard/Thunderbolt on its standard sets. Chansey on the other hand now exists in a metagame where Fighting-types don't have to commit suicide with Submission to obliterate it.



Expected Set: Hurricane / Dragon Dance / Roost / [Wrap / Surf / Thunder]

One new move doesn't really break Dragonite, but a combination of them as well as metagame conditions pushes it greatly in that direction. With Hurricane, Dragonite has a devastating STAB attack that is, barring its accuracy, the strongest non-drawback attack in the game. Here's the thing: With Rain Dance support, Hurricane gets buffed to -- Accuracy, and Dragonite has amazing synergy with a multitude of Rain Dance candidates, including Slowbro and Lapras. Then there's Dragon Dance. Dragon Dance does everything Agility does, except it also makes Hurricane stronger, and Wrap if for some reason you weren't aping to just nuke your target outright or wanted to chip damage your way into Hurricane's KO zone. As a matter of fact, +1 Hurricane routinely OHKOes Starmie with Spikes or SR support. Finally, as if its offensive tools weren't enough, Dragonite adds Roost to recover its HP and reduce damage from Rock Slide, Thunderbolt, and Blizzard, enhancing defensive sets as well. About the only Pokémon with a prayer of reliably stopping Dragonite is Cloyster; everything else has to aim for a revenge kill. I am 99% certain when Game Freak initially made Dragonite's RB Sprite, they imagined how badass it would be if it had all the later gen moves on it in RBY.

Genuinely Displaced

These Pokémon genuinely either get displaced or lose viability. This does NOT mean they go unused; quite the contrary. The quality they will lose is dominance, not necessarily usage—though some will be hurt more than others.



Expected Set: Nasty Plot / Thunderbolt / Bubblebeam / [Slash / Hyper Beam]

Persian's biggest problem has always been its frailty. Even though it can set up a Nasty Plot, there are a lot more Pokémon that can set up right along with it, as well as metagame trends that emphasize paralysis, Speed, 50% recovery moves, and Fighting-type offense. That said, it's still the fastest Pokémon that can set it up, can cover a sufficient number of threats with Thunderbolt and Bubblebeam, and still has a STAB Slash or Hyper Beam to work with. Persian can also use a few niche moves like Fake Out to hit and run, or Taunt to prevent Thunder Wave paralysis, but these are generally too circumstantial.Persian's biggest problem has always been its frailty. Even though it can set up a Nasty Plot, there are a lot more Pokémon that can set up right along with it, as well as metagame trends that emphasize paralysis, Speed, 50% recovery moves, and Fighting-type offense. That said, it's still the fastest Pokémon that can set it up, can cover a sufficient number of threats with Thunderbolt and Bubblebeam, and still has a STAB Slash or Hyper Beam to work with. Persian can also use a few niche moves like Fake Out to hit and run, or Taunt to prevent Thunder Wave paralysis, but these are generally too circumstantial.



Expected Set: Hypnosis / Mean Look / Psychic / Explosion

One might think being the sole spinblocker in existence would make Gengar more used, but this is counteracted by several factors. First, the only spin Gengar could reliably block would be that of Blastoise, as Sandslash can OHKO it with STAB Earthquake. Second, because of the type chart of RBY, Gengar doesn't 4x resist Bug moves; it's actually weak to them. Their proliferation is just as much bad news for it as it is for Psychic-types. Finally, while Gengar got buffed Ghost STAB, in RBY this runs off its physical attack and doesn't hit Normal or Psychic types, so it's irrelevant. It is not all bad news for Gengar though. With Mean Look, it can trap incoming foes or special walls like Blissey and then use Hypnosis to disable them. While Hypnosis's accuracy is questionable, Gengar's ability to follow up with Psychic and lower their Special while continuing the trapping effect is useful, and Gengar can still Explode on anything threatening.



Expected Set: Sleep Powder / Psychic / Leaf Storm / [Stun Spore / Explosion]

With the proliferation of strong Bug-type moves, competent Flying STAB, and even Poison STAB, Exeggutor's long list of weaknesses and low Speed would finally catch up with it. The fact both Golem and Rhydon now have a move that can dispatch of it in two hits or less does no good for it either. Exeggutor's only real bright spots are its new Grass-type attacks which make it capable of putting out amazing damage. Unfortunately, Grass is not a great offensive type even in RBY, so down Exeggutor will go. That said, Leaf Storm (or Wood Hammer) give Exeggutor an impressive ability to deal damage, so switching into it without thinking is not recommended. Even if it has to switch out afterward, it does immense damage when you come in.



Expected Set: Ice Beam / Softboiled / Thunderbolt / [Thunder Wave / Light Screen]

Chansey is no longer the near-unkillable blob it was originally. With Fighting-type moves now being a legitimate threat rather than a suicidal recoil-inducing joke against a Pokémon with 703 HP, Chansey would still be used as the exceptional special wall it is and always will be, but by no means would its life be comfortable. Several Fighting-types can outright OHKO it with no prior damage, and Pokémon like Pinsir can boost their Attack with Swords Dance and finish it off with Superpower. While Chansey could still act as a tank and supporter, stronger physical attacks that aren't Normal- or Fighting-type will make Chansey wish Counter worked like it did in later gens. Given the number of Pokémon with Special boosters, Chansey's last option will be either Thunder Wave to cripple or Light Screen so that it can wall most of these new boosters indefinitely and hope for Thunderbolt crits / paralysis.



Expected Set: Rest / Sleep Talk / Amnesia / Blizzard

Unfortunately for Snorlax, the only decent moves it picked up in its defense are Yawn and Sleep Talk. Snorlax has similar problems to Chansey, although not as bad because Snorlax can mount a competent offense. Rest + Sleep Talk follows the GSC Sleep Talk model, so that if it selects Rest, Snorlax regains its maximum HP. This allows Snorlax to easily buff itself to 912 Special at +6, and Blizzard gives it a powerful move that nothing is immune to. However, Snorlax absolutely hates having so many strong Fighting attacks flying around, and with more decent stat boosters, its ability to overpower through Amnesia is more limited. Snorlax operated fairly well because there were few effective means to damage it physically, and that has changed.

Metagame Speculation

The first thing to point out is that OU would be a lot more diverse. RBY OU had exactly 16 Pokémon out of 79 fully-evolved Pokémon. While that number would probably not change much, and as a percentage probably puts OU as among the more diverse metagames in each generation, it would probably expand slightly to accommodate more available strategies.

Psychic is no longer the default "best" type of the generation—although it is still very good and has powerful threats in it. More types of direct offense against it make it have to compete with other types for their useful resistances. Therefore, most balanced teams will likely default to a Fire/Water/Grass core, which I speculate would consist of Rapidash/Slowbro/Venusaur or Moltres/Blastoise/Vileplume for their ability to take most attacks, threaten most enemies, and either recover damage, disable foes, or build into the team strategy.

The rest of the team could be built around these Pokémon and the strategies they could employ, as well as Pokémon that give the core trouble like Zapdos in the latter core, where Golem would be a good fit because it counters Zapdos, provides Strealth Rock, and is faster than Rhydon. They might then consider Pinsir because they don't have a way to handle Psychics yet and Blastoise's access to Rapid Spin curbs Stealth Rock, as well as Pinsir being able to handle Golem and Rhydon with Swords Dance-boosted Superpower. A final addition might be Hypno, as it can paralyze foes and set up its own Nasty Plot sweep using Psyshock without worrying about Chansey while providing a Psychic resist that can bypass other boosting Psychics.

Alternatively, the sheer number of unique niche moves makes a hyper-offensive team quite possible by capitalizing on high offense and Speed with solid neutral attacks. An example of such a team might look something like Golem / Scyther / Machamp / Zapdos / Tauros / Victreebel, using Golem's Stealth Rock to ease KOs and the rest of the team's bulk, offense, coverage, and / or Speed to overwhelm the foe. It should be noted that nothing in that sample team has a primary attacking stat less than 298.

Stall would be more difficult, but possible with a team like Golem / Blastoise / Chansey / Vileplume / Zapdos / Cloyster, having access to all three hazards, Pokémon with instant recovery moves, Rapid Spin to get rid of other hazards, and Aromatherapy to heal paralysis or sleep that might stop bulkier members of the team from recovering—or even to heal Rest-incuded sleep.


Retrofitting all of the new moves back into Gen I would result in a much more diverse metagame, with many Pokémon finding a niche to call their own, however small it might be. It would open the game up to a broader range of strategies while still preserving or even expanding a place for some of the most well-known metagame threats.

In this particular article, I did make some assumptions about certain Pokémon that impacted the analysis, particularly the ascendancy of Alakazam, Starmie, and Dragonite to Ubers. I felt these assumptions made the metagame more decentralized than it would otherwise would have been, but if this hypothetical metagame were to pop into existence in, say, Other Metagames, then they would have conducted some kind of suspect test.

These articles are always difficult to do because so many elements go into them. Some Pokémon got simple buffs to improve their general use; others received moves that would completely change how they play. This is most readily apparent in Bug- and Fighting-type Pokémon, which now pose serious threats to Psychic- and Normal-types, respectively. I hope you enjoyed this look into a new take on the most classic of metagames. Maybe I'll revisit it in 6th Gen and see if they come up with even more wacky moves like an Ice-type move that has a 30% chance of causing burn learned by Articuno...

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