Thoughts on Round 11 of the Suspect Test

By PDC. Art by Bummer.
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Looks like we have finally reached the first of the two final tests of BW this time, or at least I hope. With XY already here by the time this issue releases, I believe it is time to finally wrap up the coverage of our suspect tests which we have all come to love so much. I'll be looking forward to doing the exact same process once again come XY, and highlight the importance of these rounds especially. I am very glad to wrap up the the series of suspect testing articles for this generation and conclude our suspect testing rounds.

Suspect Test Round 11

Landorus-I was the next suspect. The sand genie was the last one of the Genie Trio members to be tested, and it proved to be one of the most broken ones yet due to the recently released Dream World Ability Sheer Force. Landorus-I previously was a solid threat, but nothing incredibly special. It could be an above-average Choice Scarf user thanks to its great offenses, reliable defenses that allow it to tank most priority attacks, and access to U-turn. It took a while, but people finally realized just how amazing a Sheer Force set would be, and with Rock Polish, U-turn, and an overall great movepool to abuse Sheer Force, it had everything it needed to demolish offensive teams, and pressure stall teams with the momentum-grabbing U-turn. Landorus-I later sparked a discussion post-ban whether U-turn should remain legal or not. The sand genie had everything it needed to be amazing, and it had phenomenal synergy with Pokémon that demolished its usual checks and counters. This is where U-turn played a huge part, allowing Landorus-I to simply escape its checks and turn the tables on them. Latias, Celebi, and Rotom-W all were in deep trouble if a U-turn landed. Latias and Celebi took hefty amounts of damage, while Rotom-W in general wasn't very safe against Landorus-I due to a strong Focus Blast. In short, Landorus-I was the definition of offensive pressure. You can't beat what you can't catch, and Landorus-I could completely avoid the majority of its counters and get rid of them, which would open up paths for equally as dangerous sweepers like Keldeo, Starmie, and Garchomp.


BW2 was getting a bit stale at this point. You had the same basic builds being repeated over and over again. Landorus-I was not helping the case either. Shortly after people realized just how amazing the special Sheer Force set was, it quickly changed into the standard set which dominated the metagame for quite some time. Landorus-I was up there with Genesect in power, and it had just as many moveset options to dominate with as Genesect had. Landorus-I was part of the deadly Keldeo + Tyranitar + Landorus-I core, which could shut down a majority of Keldeo's and Landorus-I's common checks and counters, such as Latias, Jellicent, and Celebi, thanks to Tyranitar's Pursuit. Celebi was still threatened greatly by Hidden Power Bug from Keldeo, so it really wasn't safe from any of the Pokémon in fact. U-turn was the key reason why Landorus-I was so powerful as it can simply retreat back to Tyranitar and let it trap would-be checks with ease. The amazing mindgames that Landorus-I could play with its opponent, especially if Keldeo was on the same team, was something to be awed at. One bad move and either Landorus-I or Keldeo could guarantee a KO every time they got a free switch in. Multiple checks to both were needed on most teams simply because of how unreliable Latias and Celebi were at checking the three. Baton Pass Celebi thus became popular as a way to combat Pursuiting Choice Band or Choice Scarf Tyranitar. The community was obviously split over this one as well, although the favor of banning it was much heavier simply because of the qualities that made Landorus-I into a not-just-your-average dangerous sweeper, but an entirely new breed of sweeper, similar to Genesect in its own right.

June 14th marked the launch of the official thread, which quickly changed from the topic of Landorus-I to one almost entirely about U-turn. U-turn was what tipped the tables about Landorus-I for many people, and it almost completely enveloped the thread for over 10 pages. How valuable Tyranitar was and how important Landorus-I was when partnered with something that killed its counters, how Landorus-I was either good or bad for the metagame, and how it appeared almost out of nowhere then proceeded to destroy entire teams completely dominated the discussion. The thread stayed like this for almost the entire time it stayed up and wasn't incredibly important to the main decisions made at the end. The ladder was split into two, one with Landorus-I and one without it. The ladder with Landorus-I didn't change much from the current metagame at the time.

The ladder was comprised of the main laddering styles seen for suspect tests, but rain and hyper-offensive teams took a blow in activity from the recent rain sweeper bans and the banning of Deoxys-D. What really took over the ladder was sand offense. The Choice Band Tyranitar, Keldeo, and Landorus-I core was incredibly common just because of how well it performed in practice. You couldn't go three matches without at least seeing it once, and it was by far one of the best cores at the time. While simple, it was very deadly with even the slightest of prediction. The suspect ladder instead had no Landorus-I included. This ladder saw a huge decrease in Tyranitar and Keldeo triple cores, and instead more defensive teams increased in usage. Landorus-I was equally as dangerous to bulky defensive teams as it was to offense, and the limitations that Landorus-I placed were decreased greatly. Stall once again could flourish and be a prolific style. It made the stale metagame a bit more diverse, and many people preferred the diversity brought in the OU suspect ladder.

By the time the vote was up and the voting thread was posted, it was obvious that there was a clear difference in voting than originally thought. Landorus-I itself was trapped in a very close race, and it could have gone either way. The test ended on a very short majority, with having to come down to a extremely close race in the end. Landorus-I was banned just barely with only a 56% of votes. As time went on, more people became happier with the results, and now it is agreeable that the metagame is better off without Landorus-I. While the banning did slightly make more obscure Pokémon to deal with, it overall gave stall a better way to succeed in the already offensive metagame.


So that is part one of our final Generation V suspect testing series. The next round I'll cover in the future—Round 12—will very likely be our last test unless we choose to alter the metagame for SPL or Smogon Tour in the future, but as it looks it will be the final chapter in our metagame. Stay tuned for more!

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