Metagame Comparison: DPP UU vs BW RU

By SilentVerse. Art by Bummer.
« Previous Article Home Next Article »


A long long time ago, in a simpler time before things like rain-boosted Hydro Pumps off base 129 Special Attack and Outrages off base 170 Attack were the norm, there was a metagame called DPP UU that was adored by the many who played it. To those people, DPP UU was a welcomed deviation from the standard OU, where all those forgotten rejects from OU came together to create a consistently fun, balanced metagame where Fire-Water-Grass (FWG) cores reigned supreme and where things like Magcargo could actually be used half successfully to counter significant parts of the metagame. Unfortunately, with the release of BW, DPP UU soon died, leaving behind naught but fond memories of a tier that was thoroughly enjoyed throughout its fleeting lifespan.

However, while DPP UU is dead, some people have said that another lower BW tier—BW RU— has managed to create a relatively similar metagame to what DPP UU was. While BW brought so many changes to the competitive scene that such a comparison may seem ridiculous, honestly, as someone who has played both RU and DPP UU extensively, there are actually some pretty definite similarities in how the two tiers function. With the sheer difference between the two generations though, just how similar could these two tiers be? Let's take a look at what some people consider to be BW's "DPP UU", and see just how it is able to actually match up to its predecessor.

What's similar?

Perhaps the most obvious similarity between DPP UU and BW RU are the many DPP UU favorites that are prominent in RU. Pokémon such as Sceptile, Aggron, Rotom, Clefable, Steelix, Spiritomb, Moltres, Uxie, and more are all back and do just what they did back in DPP UU! Aggron is still that monster which can throw out ridiculously powerful Choice Banded Head Smashes to nuke the opposing team, while also having the ability to boost its Speed with Rock Polish and sweep. Spiritomb is still a solid defensive Pokémon that can capably handle some of the strongest offensive threats in the metagame, and it still boasts the ability to pick off weakened threats with its variety of priority moves and Pursuit. Lastly, Uxie is still an incredibly versatile Pokémon that is capable of reliably supporting its team via Stealth Rock, Dual Screens, and weather, and even sweeping with Calm Mind. While certain metagame changes have forced these Pokémon to adapt slightly and alter the sets that they run, for the most part, they perform the same roles of wallbreaking, sweeping, checking multiple threats, or supporting their team that they did in DPP UU.

While BW RU does lack certain DPP UU staples, many new and old Pokémon alike have risen up to fill the same roles that those staples once filled. For example, while BW RU does not have Milotic, it still has Slowking, who, like Milotic, is incredibly resilient and capable of handling a huge portion of the metagame all on its lonesome. Similarly, while RU lacks Arcanine, it has Entei, which has similar bulk to Arcanine and possesses the same priority move in ExtremeSpeed, and hits thing just as hard with its STAB Flare Blitz. Many more parallels could be made: Sigilyph, like Alakazam in DPP UU, is RU's incredibly dangerous, fast special attacker who happens to be stopped by Spiritomb and can be checked by fast priority and Choice Scarf Pokémon; Rhydon is like, well, Rhyperior, acting as one of RU's best physical tanks and checks to the various Normal-type Pokémon in the tier; Hitmonchan and Sandslash are essentially just watered-down versions of Hitmontop and Donphan, etc. Obviously, there are some crucial differences between each of these new Pokémon (Slowking is much more versatile than Milotic ever was, Entei lacks Morning Sun, Sigilyph has Magic Guard and is bulkier than Alakazam), but for the most part, they perform the roles of their predecessors in a startlingly similar manner. In addition, these similar Pokémon that have filled the roles of many DPP UU Pokémon have also inevitably created a metagame where FWG cores are just as strong as they were back in DPP UU, and as a result of that, there is even more of a familiar feel between the tiers.

What's different?

Of course, the most obvious difference between the two metagames is naturally the changes in the Pokémon available in both tiers. However, the major differences that arise between both metagames are not necessarily caused by whether or not a certain Pokémon is in a tier, but whether or not there is a Pokémon that can effectively perform the role that its counterpart performs. Of the Pokémon in each tier, perhaps the most crucial Pokémon that lack a strong counterpart in the other tier are DPP UU's Chansey, Dugtrio, Mismagius, and Registeel, and BW RU's Escavalier, Smeargle, Druddigon, Gallade, and Lilligant. The lack of an effective counterpart to DPP UU's Chansey and Registeel means that BW RU sorely lacks solid special walls, which has made certain special attackers all the more dangerous than they would have been in DPP UU. On the other hand, the lack of Dugtrio has forced RU to rely on other means, such as Pursuit, in order to remove pesky walls, and the lack of a strong Ghost-type sweeper means that RU sorely lacks any strong, offensive spinblockers (aside from Rotom, but it's too weak to sweep) capable of keeping entry hazards on the field. In terms of BW RU's new additions, the fact that BW RU has such absurdly strong, slow, and bulky threats with such a useful typing like Druddigon and Escavalier has strengthen bulky offense in RU, whereas RU's best sweepers, such as Gallade and Lilligant, hit harder than pretty much any other sweeper that wasn't banned in DPP UU, which makes hyper offense much stronger as well. And, Smeargle's ability to effortlessly lay down multiple layers of entry hazards has caused Spikes-stacking offense to become far more dominant than it ever really was in DPP UU. While there are also many other Pokémon I could have covered here, these are perhaps the most influential Pokémon that have played such a huge role in making BW RU a different metagame from DPP UU.

Aside from the simple gain and loss of certain Pokémon, another big difference between DPP UU and BW RU are the multiple changes to many old Pokémon to give them revised roles in this newer metagame. As a result of these changes, certain Pokémon have become better. Perhaps the most noteworthy examples of Pokémon that have only become better between the two metagames are Qwilfish and Hitmonlee. With the addition of a fantastic Dream World ability in Intimidate, Qwilfish stopped being the "fast" suicide lead it was used as in DPP UU and instead began to be used as one of RU's premier defensive Spikers, as the bulk granted to it by Intimidate now allows it to handily answer many of RU's most dangerous offensive threats, all while idly setting up Spikes in the process. Hitmonlee didn't get quite the upgrade Qwilfish did, but thanks to its Dream World ability in Unburden, Hitmonlee has become a tremendously dangerous sweeper that is very difficult to revenge kill outside of priority, instead of the dangerous wallbreaker that could potentially sweep in DPP UU. Of course, the various BW changes, such as the introduction of Scald, Psyshock, Volt Switch, and other such moves, as well as things like the altered Sleep mechanic has also impacted how certain Pokémon work and how good they are in RU in comparison to DPP UU.

How do the metagames compare?

As you can probably tell from the above differences, there is one main difference between DPP UU and BW RU; BW RU, in general, is more offensive than DPP UU. This is, in large part, due to three main factors: RU has more extremely powerful offensive Pokémon that DPP UU lacked, RU lacks some of the most resilient walls of DPP UU, and RU has more fast Spikers capable of laying down multiple hazards at the beginning of the match. Between hazard damage and the fact that RU lacks solid walls compared to DPP UU, defensive RU teams are more hard-pressed to survive the onslaught of hard-hitting attacks from the likes of Gallade, Escavalier, and Druddigon, which, for the most part, hit harder than some of the strongest DPP UU threats. Therefore, in order to cope with this, the standard RU team ends up being bulky offense, which has fewer issues beating those relatively slow aforementioned Pokémon that are capable of tearing right through teams that lack an offensive presence.

However, while offense is more dominant than it was in DPP UU, slower, defensive RU teams are still very strong. While contending with the prevalence of hazards and excess of incredibly powerful heavy-hitters may seem impossible, somehow, defensive RU teams have all the means necessary to survive. A big reason for this is probably the fact that RU actually has just enough solid defensive Pokémon and spinners to combat these two huge threats. Although RU lacks Donphan, Blastoise, Cloyster, and Hitmontop as spinners (though it does have Sandslash and Hitmonchan!), RU still has Kabutops, and gained Cryogonal, and between these two spinners, the majority of RU teams have a solid answer to Spikes-stacking. With both of these spinners in the tier, RU is actually not quite as hazard-dominated as you would think; even with the numerous amounts of hazard setters, the fact that those hazards can often be spun away so easily makes using them actually somewhat risky. Furthermore, though RU lacks DPP UU defensive titans like Chansey or Registeel, the defensive Pokémon it does have available to it are more than capable of taking on most of those new hard-hitting offensive threats. Between new bulky Pokémon such as Alomomola, additions to old Pokémon such as Regenerator, Eviolite, and Foul Play, and old, extremely bulky Pokémon such as Steelix that have returned from DPP UU, defensive RU teams have all the tools necessary to actually handle the power creep of BW adequately, and actually handle the likes of Gallade, Escavalier, and Druddigon fairly well. In fact, right now, RU stall is actually so strong that if you do not prepare for it adequately, you're going to have a very, very difficult time attempting to beat it as it has all the tools it needs to handle a large portion of RU's most common threats. RU may be more offensive than DPP UU, but like DPP UU, RU has that feel of every playstyle being viable, and very strong in their own right.

Because BW RU is similar to DPP UU in that every teamstyle is viable, honestly, I will say that a lot of the things that were good in DPP UU are good in RU for the most part, and a lot of the stuff that's good in RU right now was probably or would have been really good in DPP UU. I don't even mean Pokémon-wise either; I am also referring to the concepts behind what made certain DPP UU Pokémon so good. For instance, sets like offensive Life Orb Vileplume in RU were good for the exact same reason that stuff like Life Orb Venusaur was good in DPP UU: they are bulky, powerful offensive threats that are capable of dishing out serious damage with a STAB combination that has incredibly good coverage and have a perfect Speed tier for their metagame to boot. A large part of this is simply due to the fact that both metagames revolve heavily around similar FWG cores, which means that things that fit into that FWG mold, effectively support it, or effectively counter it are all usable. This has turned RU into a metagame that, like DPP UU, is defined by a lot of bog standards, but at the same time, has plenty of room for creativity and the discovery of new, anti-meta threats.

So, in the end, I think it's fair to say that, for the most part, the metagames have a pretty similar sense of balance. At the same time though, they aren't really so similar that if you know one metagame, you would be able to immediately master the other. The difference in the various mechanics and the more offensive nature in RU means that there are a lot of subtle, intricate differences between the two metagames. For example, while a DPP UU player who is looking to get into RU might be tempted to use Emboar as a wallbreaker due to its sheer similarity to Blaziken of DPP UU, realistically, Emboar actually works better as a Choice Scarf Pokémon due to its ability to check some of the biggest RU threats. On the other hand, if you were to pick up DPP UU after playing RU extensively, you might think that Donphan wouldn't be a good spinner due to just how mediocre Sandslash is in RU at the job, even though Donphan is actually a pretty decent choice in DPP UU. It's these small, but subtle differences that make the metagames different enough from each other to be distinct metagames of their own, but at the same time, there are enough similarities for a player who has played one of the metagames to have a slight understanding of the other.


It's unlikely that any metagame in the future, especially taking into account BW's obscene power creep, will ever match the legendary status of DPP UU. The beautiful balance of that metagame, from the viability of every playstyle and the variety of Pokémon that could be used, in addition to the feeling that "you can use anything here" is one that unfortunately will likely never be replicated in the future in the same manner. But, if there's a metagame from DPP-on that comes close to DPP UU, I would have to say that BW RU comes pretty darn close (well, as close as you could get for a BW metagame anyway...). For all its differences and shortcomings, BW RU retains a relatively similar sense of balance which lived through DPP UU, as well as that wondrous feeling that you can almost use anything and succeed, which both made DPP UU extremely enjoyable for many people, and even now, are a huge reason why people still play BW RU. So, what are you waiting for? Give BW RU a shot! Whether you have played DPP UU when it was at its prime or you're a BW player looking for a cool metagame to play, I'm sure you will be able to enjoy BW RU and its numerous parallels to what many people consider to be one of the most balanced and consistently fun metagame of all time.

« Previous Article Home Next Article »