Doubles Spotlight: Kyurem-B

By Pwnemon and Pocket. Art by ZapDraws.
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Introduction and History

Kyurem-B's history is awfully short. It was released less than a year ago and instantly theorymon-banned to Ubers—an understandable decision, given that base 170 Attack plus Outrage is a fearsome combination. However, Kyurem-B was the subject of the second BW2 Suspect Test, where the voters found it, thanks to its low Speed and lack of switch-in opportunities, definitely not Uber-worthy. Despite its subsequent low usage, many top players have cited Kyurem-B as one of the best Pokémon in the tier and the reason it is impossible to make an OU stall team; judge for yourself, as this is an article about Doubles and I've gone on for long enough about the wrong metagame.

The Doubles banlist is much smaller than OU's, but here's an interesting fact: Kyurem and Kyurem-B are the only Pokémon in either metagame with a BST above 600. It didn't take long for #doubles to notice this and try it on their teams. Ever since, it's been the tier's premier physical tank.

Qualities and Positives

I can give you 700 good reasons to use Kyurem-B on your team. Now, stats aren't everything, as any Slaking can tell you. And there are, of course, Pokémon such as Breloom that are given precisely the tools they need to succeed, absolutely no more, and can get away with having a comparatively low stat total. But then there is Kyurem-B, who has an absurd overflow of raw power in every possible facet; remember, this is a Pokémon with a BST halfway between Mewtwo and Arceus, in a metagame where the average hovers somewhere closer to 540. Not only does Kyurem-B have incredible strength—enough to, say, OHKO 252/0 Politoed with a Fusion Bolt—but he also has solid base 100 / 90 defenses alongside base 125 HP, which even when uninvested, can tank attacks such as Scizor's Steel Gem-boosted Bullet Punch. Its movepool is small but precise, with Dragon Claw and Fusion Bolt being must-haves on every set, leaving room for two of Outrage, Protect, Imprison, Rock Slide, Earth Power, Ice Beam, and Hidden Power (usually Fire), all of which have good situational uses. Kyurem-B registers as a physical attacker, but that doesn't mean you can ignore his special coverage. For example, even an Adamant Ice Beam can OHKO one of the most common Intimidate users in Doubles: Landorus-T.

Furthermore, some of Kyurem-B's worst flaws in OU are alleviated in doubles: its Stealth Rock weakness isn't nearly as crippling because the move is virtually unheard of. Dragon Claw is also even more spammable in doubles than in singles, as your opponent needs to have two Steel-types out in order to really stop the move. Most importantly, its Speed isn't nearly as bad. For one, there's the old adage that I just made up: "Anything can be the speediest Pokémon in doubles." This is thanks to Speed control moves such as Thunder Wave, Quash, Tailwind, Trick Room, and Icy Wind; but more importantly, Kyurem-B's Speed tier just isn't as low as in OU. Stat-wise, Doubles is a pretty slow metagame: Choice Scarf is rare, and with a cluster of viable Pokémon hovering around the base 80 range, there are plenty of targets for Kyurem-B to pick on without having to worry about taking a hit first.

Of course, Kyurem-B isn't perfect, or it would be banned. Its main flaw is its defensive typing. While Dragon / Ice gives it a couple of neat switch-ins on Water-, Grass-, and Electric-type moves, it leaves it with weaknesses to Fighting- and Dragon-type Pokémon, either of which is basically a death sentence in a metagame so saturated with both. The other problem is that, for a supposed offensive behemoth, Dragon Claw's 80 Base Power STAB is quite the letdown. Outrage's unreliability means that Kyurem-B has to use Dragon Claw as its STAB move of choice, and cutting its power by 1/3 has noticeable side effects—for instance, it no longer OHKOes Ninetales without a Choice Band.

Using Kyurem-B

If your team needs a buttload of physical firepower that can capitalize on Thundurus, Landorus-T, Politoed, Ludicolo, Abomasnow, Shaymin-S, Rotom-W, and Jellicent, then Kyurem-B is the Pokémon for you! Kyurem-B is also a nice choice if you are trying to limit the number of Pokémon on your team that are being walled by special sponges such as Togekiss, Cresselia, and Tyranitar.

Kyurem-B is quite a versatile Pokémon. My personal favorite variant is the Choice Band set: it can afford to spam Outrage and guarantees that whatever Pokémon on the receiving end will be banged up or simply crushed by the terrific force. For those teams that are lacking in Speed, a Choice Scarf set is an alternative that may also be able to KO the likes of Latios and Terrakion by surprise.

Non-Choiced sets are also an option for certain teams that want to play Kyurem-B with more finesse and tactical play than simply mashing the Dragon Claw or Outrage button. Kyurem-B can run a mixed set that can make better use of its special moves, most importantly Ice Beam and Earth Power, to dispose of some of the hardy Pokémon of Doubles, such as Landorus-T and Heatran. Kyurem-B can equip a Life Orb or Expert Belt in this case to achieve these KOs without investing heavily in Special Attack, but Kyurem-B can also run type-resistance Berries in order to survive a STAB Draco Meteor or STAB Close Combat, thanks to its incredible bulk. By holding Power Herb, Kyurem-B can utilize its signature Freeze Shock, which essentially puts one opposing Pokémon out of commission.

Fighting Kyurem-B

Kyurem-B is one brawny Pokémon that can take hard hits and dish out harder hits. Kyurem-B is not a Pokémon that you want to ignore when it shows its colossal self—you will want to dispose of it immediately, especially if you have any common Pokémon that are preyed upon by Kyurem-B. Be sure to have a dragonslayer that will put it on the defensive; Choice Scarf Tyranitar, Terrakion, Latios, and Kingdra are particularly useful for defeating Kyurem-B before it can launch its destructive assault. If Trick Room is active, then Conkeldurr, Escavalier, and Metagross become viable options. Mach Punch or Bullet Punch from Breloom or Scizor can finish off a weakened Kyurem-B, but do not expect them to take down a healthy Kyurem-B without an additional power boost.

Speed control also goes a long way in minimizing wreckage caused by Kyurem-B. Stealing its Speed advantage by paralyzing it or setting up Tailwind allows slower Pokémon such as Heracross or Landorus-T to now threaten Kyurem-B or its partner.

Defensively, Steel-types are safe choices to protect your team against Kyurem-B. Scizor, Ferrothorn, Metagross, Jirachi, Genesect, Heatran, Escavalier, and Bisharp are all solid choices for controlling damage. Of these Steel-types, Scizor and Jirachi are particularly annoying for Kyurem-B because they can both heavily maim Kyurem-B before it can move, and the latter can even redirect Kyurem-B's main offense with Follow Me. Intimidate from a Hitmontop can drastically drop Kyurem-B's killing power, but Hitmontop won't enjoy taking any of Kyurem-B's assaults.

Kyurem-B in your team

Kyurem-B's raw bulk and power are nothing to be scoffed at, and it can pull its own weight in almost all matches. Unfortunately, it isn't much of a team player, and is the worst Dragon when it comes to defensive synergy—Salamence has Intimidate and resists Fighting, Latios resists Fighting, Hydreigon is immune to Ground, etc. Kyurem may resist Water, Grass, and Electric, but so do all of the other dragons, along with added defensive perks. Furthermore, Kyurem-B lacks the team support option that every other Dragon boasts—Tailwind. On top of this, Imprison makes for a lousy consolation prize, though Imprisoning Protect can be nifty on sets that can afford to give up two-move coverage.

Great partners for Kyurem-B spamming Outrage or Dragon Claw are Pokémon that can naturally take out Steel-types or other physically bulky Pokémon. As Pwnemon's Team Whitewater portrays, Kyurem-B actually functions well on a rain team, as only a few select Pokémon can withstand the aggressive onslaught of rain-boosted aquatic barrages paired with Kyurem-B's draconian might. Keldeo's dual Water / Fighting STAB offense particularly pairs well with Kyurem-B. Scizor and mixed Kyurem-B form a powerful mutual relationship—Scizor snipes down Latios, Tyranitar, and Terrakion, while Kyurem-B can lure and eliminate Heatran and Landorus-T with Earth Power and Ice Beam, respectively.

Regardless of the specific set, Kyurem-B will appreciate a Pokémon that can tank or protect it from lethal Dragon-, Rock-, and Fighting-type moves. Hitmontop and Landorus-T, for instance, can soften the blow of Dragon Claws, Rock Slides, and Close Combats with Intimidate and defend Kyurem-B from Rock Slides with Wide Guard. Jirachi is another effective partner, redirecting Draco Meteors, Dragon Claws, and Bullet Punches with Follow Me, resisting Rock Slides, and crippling Rock-types with a super effective STAB Iron Head or Meteor Mash.

Get out there!

Kyurem-B is possibly one of the most successful physical dragons in the metagame, which is a big feat in Doubles. Unlike Garchomp, the only other notable physical Dragon-type of OU, Kyurem-B fears less from rain, Cresselia, and Landorus-T. In fact, many common threats of OU are preyed upon by Kyurem-B. It is a true predator in Doubles, and only its B-tier Speed, exploitable weaknesses, and absence of a powerful physical spread move keep this Godzilla from trampling over this tier. Play with Kyurem-B and enjoy a first-hand experience of its immense potential in Doubles.

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