ADV and DPP Underdogs That Would Be Threats in GSC

By Crystal_. Art by Bummer.
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Hello and welcome to a new article of old gen speculation. This time, we move from RBY to GSC, also known as the metagame of Snorlax, Leftovers, infuriating Sleep Talk mechanics, and Buddhist monk-like patience. In a moment, we are going to look at the ADV and DPP underdogs that would stand out in the slower paced GSC metagame, but, to put things into perspective, let's first review what the differences between the GSC metagame and the next two generations were.

ADV introduced abilities, natures, a restrictive EV system, and Choice Band, while DPP brought in the physical / special split and a plethora of offense-favoring items such as Life Orb, Choice Specs, and Choice Scarf. With the possibility of maximizing every stat, offensive Pokémon that dismiss defensive EVs and select an offensive nature in the newer generations would have much more balanced stats in GSC, making the line between offense and defense more diffuse. No abilities means that any Pokémon moving back from ADV or DPP to GSC would lose a little bit of its identity. But by far the most devastating change would be that two behemoths, Slaking and Regigigas, that struggle to make an impact on the generations they were made, would have literally no drawbacks to rampage in the GSC metagame, making even the mighty Snorlax jealous. Without ADV- or DPP-introduced items to choose from, new gen Pokeémon attempting to successfully go back to GSC would have to settle for the ever-useful-in-GSC Leftovers, which favors bulky Pokémon over frailer sweepers.

The lack of the physical / special split and ADV and DPP attacks in GSC will also be very determinant in our speculations. Pokémon would have to resign to what they can learn more than ever. In DPP especially, there are attacks of all kinds and types—with the option to choose from physical or special regardless of type—and most Pokémon have wide movepools. However, many of the highest powered attacks didn't exist back in the second generation. On the other hand, GSC did have a universal Curse TM and a more effective Sleep Talk, two moves that undoubtedly shape the metagame. Speaking of Sleep Talk and Rest, it would be crucial for those sweepers aiming to do well in the GSC metagame to be able to break its toughest walls under its less powerful and versatile conditions. That said, let's take a look at the most remarkable Pokémon ordered by Pokédex number:

ADV Pokémon



Type: Normal
Stats: 150 / 160 / 100 / 95 / 65 / 100
Status in the new generations: BL / NU / NU
Expected GSC Status: Uber
Possible GSC moveset: Frustration / Earthquake / Fire Blast / Encore @ Leftovers

Without its signature ability, Truant, nothing stops Slaking from devastating the GSC OU metagame with its legendary-like stats and outstanding physical power. A simple all-out attacker set containing Frustration (Slaking wouldn't be able to use Double-Edge in GSC), Earthquake, and Fire Blast would fry the whole GSC OU metagame, 3HKOing Snorlax and Suicune, and dealing at least 50% damage to most other relevant Pokémon. The only OU Pokémon that could attempt to check Slaking is Miltank, which is not 2HKOed by Frustration and can neutralize potential Curses with Growl. However, the Speed tie and the vulnerability to a critical hit makes it a luck-reliant feat. If that wasn't enough, Slaking's movepool is also gifted with Encore, which can, for example, lock Miltank into Milk Drink to let the player do what he or she pleases. In short, while Snorlax has a few set dependent checks, Slaking would have to be moved up to Ubers to prevent it from utterly breaking the calm GSC OU metagame as if it were RBY Tauros 2.0. In Ubers, possibly the only Pokémon that could switch into Slaking's attacks and live to tell the tale is Lugia, which is able to Recover off Frustration, Curse up alongside Slaking, and phaze it. Yet again, that's when Encore comes in handy, as it can lock Lugia into a passive attack. With its enormous offensive power and perfect coverage, Slaking's only weaknesses are its not-so-good special bulk and inability to learn an instant recovery move that is so frequent among Uber Pokémon (Slack Off only exists in ADV and beyond), but regardless, Slaking would clearly leave its mark in even the top-tier GSC metagame despite being a mere NU Pokémon two generations later.



Type: Fighting
Stats: 144 / 120 / 60 / 40 / 60 / 50
Status in the new generations: BL / UU / RU
Expected GSC Status: Bottom-tier OU
Possible GSC moveset: Cross Chop / Curse / Hidden Power Rock / Earthquake @ Leftovers

Hariyama is very similar to Machamp in many ways. They are both very powerful Fighting-type Pokémon with access to Cross Chop and very similar stats; Machamp hits a little harder and is five points faster than Hariyama (meaning that Hariyama is slower than Exeggutor), while Hariyama is a little bulkier. The first move that stands out from Hariyama's movepool is Belly Drum, but it's not easy to put it to work without outside help as Hariyama is too slow and doesn't have Snorlax's special tanking abilities or Quagsire's useful typing, having weaknesses to Skarmory's Drill Peck and Exeggutor's and Starmie's Psychic instead. Still, Belly Drum is an important unpredictability advantage over Machamp. In addition, perhaps unnoticed, Hariyama's deadly combination of Belly Drum, Endure, and Reversal with the help of an Agility passer such as Jolteon is extremely potent, as a 999 Attack 200 Base Power Reversal can OHKO every OU Pokémon that is not a Ghost-type. Hariyama's main disadvantage over Machamp is its inability to learn Rock Slide (as it's a RBY TM move), which means that it has to resort to Hidden Power Rock to hit Zapdos and isn't guaranteed to 3HKO. This is not the main issue, however; Hidden Power Rock restricts Hariyama to being unable to use Hidden Power Bug or Ghost to hit Exeggutor and Starmie hard, making a Pursuit user necessary. Moreover, Hariyama can't learn Fire Blast—a move that could be another option to hit Exeggutor hard—or Body Slam (RBY TM) either, which are possible alternative attacking moves on Machamp's moveset. All in all, there are things that Hariyama can do that Machamp can not and vice-versa, but if I had to give the edge to one of the two Pokémon, Machamp would be my choice.



Type: Fire / Ground
Stats: 70 / 100 / 70 / 105 / 75 / 40
Status in the new generations: UU / NU / NU
Expected GSC Status: BL / Bottom-tier OU
Possible GSC moveset: Earthquake / Fire Blast / Explosion / Body Slam @ Leftovers

Camerupt has some cool points in its favor. Its typing is perfect for checking Hidden Power Ice from Electric-types, taking negligible damage from their Hidden Power after Leftovers recovery. The bad news for Camerupt, though, is that Zapdos and Raikou could always opt for Hidden Power Water, and in fact Raikou already does it from time to time to hit Steelix hard. Another good point for Camerupt is its unique combination of powerful Ground- and Fire-type STAB attacks. Earthquake easily 2HKOes Raikou as well as Rock-types, and 4HKOes Snorlax, while Fire Blast OHKOes Steel-types and Exeggutor and is capable of 3HKOing Zapdos. What really turns Camerupt into a potential wallbreaker is Explosion. Being straight up OHKOed by any STAB Surf and failing to 3HKO Suicune and Vaporeon, as well as failing to 2HKO Starmie, Camerupt utterly relies on Explosion to get past them and Miltank. However, the fact that Camerupt would be limited to these checks, and to an extent to Snorlax, could make it a potent bait-exploder. It should be noted that Camerupt can't reach the OHKO with Explosion on Suicune and Miltank; that's when Body Slam paralysis could come in handy in order to make them slower. Plus, Body Slam could prove useful to cripple an incoming Starmie. Other options include Rock Slide (Camerupt can learn both Body Slam and Rock Slide via breeding), basically to hit Dragonite, and Roar in conjunction with Spikes, as Camerupt's counters are usually grounded. Unfortunately, Camerupt also boasts a weaknesses to the very common Earthquake, and is extremely slow, meaning that it would heavily rely on free switches into Hidden Power Ice from Electric-types and Skarmory, as it would lack opportunities to switch in otherwise.



Type: Rock / Grass
Stats: 86 / 81 / 97 / 81 / 107 / 43
Status in the new generations: UU / NU / NU
Expected GSC Status: BL / Bottom-tier OU
Possible GSC moveset: Rock Slide / Recover / Curse / Hidden Power Grass @ Leftovers

Its unique typing, good defensive stats, and access to Recover give Cradily some very useful defensive niches. It may be weak to Ice-type attacks, but Cradily can easily shrug off Electric-types' Hidden Power Ice with Recover (it's barely a 3HKO) and smack Zapdos back with STAB Rock Slide. Cradily can Curse up alongside standard Curselax and proceed to stall it out more reliably than Porygon2 thanks to its resistance to Normal-type attacks. Unfortunately, not all is peaches and cream for Cradily; its Fighting weakness gives Cradily trouble against certain Pokémon such as Machamp and the Ice weakness turns Cradily into an unreliable check to mixed attackers. Its offensive potential is close to null, with Miltank easily Growling away its Curses and Steel-types, Rock-types, and Suicune being able to phaze or scare it away. Speaking of CurseRoarers, Cradily is prone to being setup bait for Steelix, Rhydon, and Curse Tyranitar, by virtue of its inability to phaze. Hidden Power Grass softens this issue by being able to hit them hard from the special side without having to get into a Curse war that the opponent would have control over thanks to Roar. Hidden Power Grass also has the bonus of hitting Marowak, while the other logical option, Earthquake, covers Raikou, Gengar, and Nidoking, three Pokémon that Cradily could handle decently. Overall, Cradily would offer an effective type combination and be a reliable Recover user to GSC, but, ultimately, it would miss additional support moves such as Roar, Leech Seed, Reflect, and Light Screen, as well as the firepower necessary to threaten sturdy phazers.



Type: Rock / Bug
Stats: 75 / 125 / 100 / 70 / 80 / 45
Status in the new generations: BL / NU / NU
Expected GSC Status: BL | Bottom-tier OU
Possible GSC moveset: Swords Dance / Ancientpower / Hidden Power Bug / Earthquake @ Leftovers

Before you ask, there is a simple reason for why Ancientpower is listed over Rock Slide: in GSC, Rock Slide would be illegal with Swords Dance due to the lack of Pokémon that are available for Armaldo to breed with. In general, when you have a look at the list of OU Pokémon in GSC, you see that there is very little that doesn't struggle to switch into Armaldo, considering its outstanding Attack stat, good coverage, and the threat of Swords Dance. On the other hand, you don't see where Armaldo could get free switches from, which is just as important when it comes to offensive Pokémon. There are a few Pokémon Armaldo can usually scare away, such as Exeggutor, Raikou, Nidoking, and Gengar, but nothing that it can really switch into (maybe Miltank, but there is still the threat of paralysis). This is partly because while Armaldo's Rock / Bug typing gives it very few weaknesses, it also provides little-to-no resistances. The only relevant resistance is the Normal-type, but Armaldo has no business switching into Curselax anyway, nor into any other Curse user. The other problem with Armaldo is that its attacks aren't very powerful, which is evident against neutral targets. While Armaldo can hit half the metagame for super effective damage, the lack of power against the likes of Skarmory, Suicune, and Snorlax can be annoying as all of these are only 3HKOed by a +2 Armaldo. Truth be said though, Armaldo would be the second best user of Swords Dance after Marowak, and Swords Dance is a very dangerous move under anything that can make good use of it.


ADV Pokémon didn't live up to their expectations and only brought us the more than evident Slaking and four discreet candidates. Most Pokémon that would have been good in GSC are also too good in the newer generations to be considered underdogs. The last three Pokémon detailed above could or could not have made it to the OU tier—indeed, Cradily and Armaldo most likely wouldn't have—but are more deserving to be part of the article than any of the remaining underdogs made in the third generation. Overall, ADV contained a few interesting Normal-type resistors that could have worked as Snorlax checks, but their inability to phaze would've kept them unable to achieve that proposition and to subsequently be put in the group of Skarmory, Steelix, Tyranitar, and the likes, all of whom can also work as multi-purpose phazers. Apart from the aforementioned Armaldo and Cradily, Regirock and Registeel would belong here. The honorable mention goes to Zangoose, a Pokémon that nobody would probably consider at first glance, but it makes for a dangerous Normal-type Swords Dance user, being able to 2HKO the whole metagame after a single Swords Dance despite not being able to learn Earthquake (it would require the riskier Iron Tail). Unfortunately, it's too frail to be a consistent performer and is a tad inferior to Marowak, but one would expect Zangoose to show up in GSC every once in a while like your typical BL would.

DPP Pokémon



Type: Ghost / Flying
Stats: 150 / 80 / 44 / 90 / 54 / 80
Status in the new generations: NU / NU
Expected GSC Status: Bottom-tier OU
Possible GSC moveset: Thunder / Hypnosis / Hidden Power Ice / Rest @ Leftovers

The most remarkable thing about Drifblim is its immunity to Normal- and Ground-type attacks. Remember that, without abilities, Gengar takes super effective damage from Earthquake in GSC, which would make Drifblim the only Pokémon immune to Snorlax's most common attack combination. Moreover, the other common coverage moves used by Snorlax are Fire Blast and Flamethrower, both of which do little damage to Drifblim thanks to its titanic HP and can be shrugged off by Rest. Unfortunately, Drifblim is weak to many common types, notably Electric, Rock, and Ice, and its outstanding HP stat becomes merely an average bulk when combined with its very poor defenses. Drifblim also falls short on power, lacking a viable STAB attack to work with or, at least, Gengar's Special Attack stat. This becomes noticeable against bulky attackers such as Machamp and Zapdos. In addition, Drifblim has trouble against Tyranitar—which can easily Pursuit it—and Steelix. Ironically, Drifbim can only hope to stall Snorlax, because the balloon will never be able to break past a Snorlax using Rest. As a spinblocker, Drifblim has to cope with its weakness to Cloyster's Ice Beam, but defends well against Starmie without a super effective attack. Drifblim learns some interesting moves that would make it somewhat unpredictable, but nothing to write home about. It gets Hypnosis, Destiny Bond, Haze, and a decently powerful Explosion, although if it is looking to be a complete Snorlax counter, it better pack Rest for variants with a Fire attack. Thunder or Thunderbolt would be Drifblim's main attacking move, with Hidden Power Ice being its only hope against Ground-types and Exeggutor. All in all, it's Drifblim's ability to wall Snorlax which would actually make it usable in the OU metagame, but it should be noted that Snorlax could always opt for an alternative move such as Thunder, which is already not an useless option at all.



Type: Ghost
Stats: 60 / 60 / 60 / 105 / 105 / 105
Status in the new generations: UU / UU
Expected GSC Status: Mid-tier OU
Possible GSC moveset: Mean Look / Perish Song / Protect / Thunder @ Leftovers


The good news for Mismagius is that it is an improved version of a Pokémon that is already OU in GSC. The not-so-good news is that what Mismagius gains upon evolution is not that much: a 40-point increase in Special Attack, Special Defense, and Speed. Still, the Special Defense boost provides a very important advantage in Mismagius's spinblocking duties. Starmie and Cloyster, which both cleanly 3HKO Misdreavus with Surf, would have a tougher time dealing with Mismagius, especially if Leftovers recovery becomes a factor. The boost in Special Attack helps variants with Thunder or Thunderbolt damage Suicune and Vaporeon a little bit harder, but otherwise it's nothing to write home about. In addition, the higher Speed breaks the Speed tie with Nidoking, Suicune, and Heracross. Most importantly, however, Mismagius outspeeds Zapdos, which, coupled with the increase in Special Defense, turns Zapdos from a last resort Misdreavus check when short of phazers, to an average-to-bad match-up against a healthy Mismagius.



Type: Normal
Stats: 110 / 85 / 95 / 80 / 95 / 50
Status in the new generations: NU / NU
Expected GSC Status: Top-tier OU
Possible GSC moveset: Swords Dance / Frustration / Earthquake / Fire Blast @ Leftovers

Lickilicky is kind of a mini-Snorlax. Its stats are very well-rounded, and its movepool is versatile and effective; it goes from Swords Dance and Belly Drum to STAB Normal attacks, Earthquake, and any kind of elemental special attack (it should be noted that Lickilicky wouldn't be able to learn Explosion in GSC, as only Lickitung, which can't learn Explosion, can be traded back to RBY). Lickilicky would be the one of the few OU Pokémon able to use Swords Dance, and, while it doesn't have the raw power of Marowak, it doesn't have Marowak's awful staying power either. A simple set with Swords Dance, a STAB Normal-type attack—preferably either Frustration or Body Slam—and two coverage moves in the form of Earthquake and Fire Blast would make Lickilicky incredibly difficult to check. Swords Dance outboosts Miltank's Growl, while Earthquake and Fire Blast cover Skarmory, Tyranitar, Steelix, Rhydon, and Ghost-types. This leaves Charm Umbreon and, to an extent, Misdreavus and Machamp, as the only semi-decent checks to Lickilicky, making it a very effective stallbreaker provided that it finds opportunities to switch in without being worn down quickly. In slower-paced teams where Lickilicky is wanted to stick around for as long as possible, dropping one of the coverage moves for Rest becomes an option, especially if used with Heal Bell support. Earthquake covers a higher amount of Pokémon than Fire Blast, but, unlike Skarmory, those Pokémon rarely come with a healing move. Lastly, Lickilicky's ability to learn Belly Drum also deserves a mention, but without Charizard's Speed, Quagsire's useful resistances, Clefable's access to an instant recovery move, or Snorlax's titanic special bulk, it can be hard to pull off and gets overshadowed by Swords Dance, which is already a very unique move in GSC OU.



Type: Ground / Rock
Stats: 115 / 140 / 130 / 55 / 55 / 40
Status in the new generations: UU / UU
Expected GSC Status: Mid-tier OU
Possible GSC moveset: Curse / Earthquake / Rock Slide / Roar @ Leftovers

Rhyperior is another example of Pokémon that got minor stat boosts upon evolving from a Pokémon that is already OU in GSC. Knowing how Rhydon fares in the GSC OU metagame, there isn't really much to say about Rhyperior. It makes a sturdier Snorlax check, 3HKOing Snorlax with Earthquake while being only 4HKOed by Snorlax's own Earthquake—assuming no Curse boosts from either side—instead of Rhydon's exact opposite. In addition, Rhyperior also holds a ~40% chance to survive a 999 Attack Earthquake at full health. Other notable advantages Rhyperior would hold over Rhydon are being able to survive two Hidden Power Ices from Electric-types after minor residual damage such as Spikes or a Normal-type attack from Snorlax, and being guaranteed to survive two Ice Punches in a row from Gengar. Offensively, Rhyperior would gain the ability to 3HKO Suicune after Spikes damage, which could prove decisive in the long run against versions without Sleep Talk. While this is a very specific example, the power boost, albeit very low and not as noticeable as the defensive boosts, would never hurt.



Type: Fire
Stats: 75 / 95 / 67 / 125 / 95 / 83
Status in the new generations: NU / RU
Expected GSC Status: Mid-tier OU
Possible GSC moveset: Fire Blast / Thunderbolt / Cross Chop / Sunny Day @ Leftovers

With excellent coverage and great attacking stats, Magmortar meets the requirements to be a very potent mixed sweeper. Usually, when trying to quantify the effectiveness of a mixed sweeper, you'd look at the damage calculations against common walls and whether the Pokémon can break past their recovery moves or not. Backed up by an excellent 348 Special Attack stat, Thunderbolt easily 3HKOes Suicune and Vaporeon without having to resort to Thunder's subpar accuracy. Cross Chop can 3HKO Snorlax and Umbreon and do heavy damage to Tyranitar. Fire Blast will 3HKO Zapdos and Raikou, and Thunderbolt followed by two Fire Blasts also KOes them. Magmortar's STAB Fire Blast is so powerful that it has a small chance to 2HKO Miltank and will straight up OHKO Exeggutor, Steelix, and Skarmory. For the last slot, Sunny Day halves the power of Suicune's and Vaporeon's Water attacks, reduces Thunder's accuracy, and lets Magmortar 2HKO Zapdos, Raikou, Miltank, and Porygon2; while Magmortar can beat them without Sunny Day's boost, Fire Blast's or Cross Chop's low PP could become a problem very quickly. Another option could be Confuse Ray, which can also increase Magmortar's chances of beating the aforementioned Pokémon and can become especially useful if Spikes are down. So far, everything sounds great and all, but, unfortunately, Magmortar would suffer from a below-average staying power and lack of useful resistances that bring opportunities to switch in. For example, while Steelix and Exeggutor are technically good match-ups for Magmortar, it can't really afford to switch into them; even Skarmory's Drill Pecks become unmanageable really quickly, especially if Spikes damage racks up in every switch. Not to mention that paralysis—including Thunder from Electric-types and Miltank's Body Slam—really screws Magmortar up. In general, you could compare Magmortar to Machamp in this sense. It usually requires double switches and risky play to fully take advantage of it and is prone to being worn down if it fails to make an impact, but its attacking prowess and wallbreaking capabilities are just amazing.



Type: Normal
Stats: 110 / 160 / 110 / 80 / 110 / 100
Status in the new generations: NU / NU
Expected GSC Status: Uber
Possible GSC moveset: Frustration / Earthquake / Thunderbolt / Rest @ Leftovers

Regigigas would be similar to Slaking in many ways. Upon losing its terrible ability, Regigigas becomes a total monster, virtue of an impressive 418 Attack stat. Having talked about Slaking already, you know what to expect. Overall, compared to Slaking, Regigigas gains some special bulk, but loses on Speed and access to Fire Blast and Encore. Miltank could technically wall this set—at least, as long as its Milk Drink PP lasts—but Regigigas can always try to cheese it with Confuse Ray or simply use DynamicPunch over Rest, which also helps against Umbreon (Thunder Wave would be unteachable in GSC). Similar story here; Regigigas gets moved to Ubers where it would most likely be using a Curse set and would have a lot of trouble getting past Lugia. Still, a total monster.


DPP did bring us a few more interesting Pokémon than ADV, even though most of them are evolutions of Pokémon that existed in GSC. Interestingly, there were many potential candidates, that, for one reason or another, would have fallen short of reaching the OU tier in GSC. For example, Mespirit and Uxie would make for interesting mixed walls in GSC, but would lose access to support moves such as Reflect, Light Screen, and Thunder Wave. They would additionally be overshadowed by Suicune for the most part as the latter holds higher walling capabilities overall and the ability to phaze. Glaceon would enjoy having Growth in its movepool, but, unfortunately, lacks Vaporeon's staying power and defensive capabilities or Jolteon's Speed to be effective enough for OU, despite its outstanding Special Attack. Froslass looks like it could've been the only Spikes user with an immunity to Rapid Spin in GSC, but the truth is that Spikes would be unreachable for it, since no Pokémon of its Egg Group learns the move in GSC. Lastly, while Rampardos looks promising, it would lose access to Swords Dance upon being moved back to GSC, and, as a consequence of its lower bulk, would be overshadowed as a CurseRoarer by other Normal-resisting Pokémon such as Tyranitar, Rhydon, and Steelix.

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