"Don't Jynx it, but we're banned now" - Scolipede

By skylight, Zebraiken, and Raseri. Art by Blue Frog.
« Previous Article Home Next Article »


On February 5th, 2014, Jynx and Scolipede were sent to the depths of BL3, never to be seen in BW2 NU again. What's interesting about this decision is that it was made months after XY OU started. Zebraiken, Raseri, and I look at some of the reasons why they were banned, how NU has changed since the ban, and why the vote happened so late into the tier.

What makes Jynx and Scolipede so special?


Jynx is versatile as well as powerful. It can run a ton of sets: Choice Scarf, Life Orb, Nasty Plot, Focus Sash, and so on, as NeverUsed's version of The Next Best Thing has shown. It's hard to predict which set it's running, and there isn't a counter that can stop all of its sets. Priority (Skuntank, Kangaskhan, Gurdurr, and even Muk) can handle it, but only after something has been sacrificed. It's not its strength that's the problem either, but also the fact that Jynx has access to Lovely Kiss, which means that you need to effectively put something out of action or sacrifice it in order to bring in your Jynx counter effectively. Jynx is also fast and strong, sitting at base 95 Speed and 115 Special Attack, which causes even more problems for Pokémon that can check it (assuming they aren't put to sleep at that point).

Players are forced to use a Jynx check or counter in every team, which puts limitations on how creative you can be in teambuilding. As a result, the metagame becomes stale as teams are centralized around handling Jynx, and handling those that threaten the checks to Jynx. As a whole, it creates a boring metagame centered around trying to beat Jynx, which isn't guaranteed given that one incorrect prediction against it means game over.

Unlike Jynx, Scolipede's problem didn't come from its power or versatility, but rather from its high Speed and access to Spikes. NU has barely any effective and consistent spinners, and none of them can easily take on an offensive team. It's also very hard to stop Scolipede from setting up Spikes, as with a Focus Sash, defensive investment, and the fact that it outspeeds most of the tier, you need to run specific Choice Scarf Pokémon, or niche Pokémon that naturally outspeed it, in order to take it down. A lot of these are in trouble (Jynx and Charizard for example) if Scolipede carries a Focus Sash, meaning that it can freely set up another layer of Spikes a few turns later, or outright KO said Scarf user. This effectively gives your team a layer of Spikes and a free KO against a Pokémon that could potentially be threatening to the rest of your team. Scolipede can easily hold its own against most leads, set up 2-3 layers of Spikes, and then take them out out.

What does this mean now for NU?


Just about every defensive or bulky Pokémon can finally sit back and breathe a little, because two of the most threatening offensive weapons that NU had are completely gone. No longer do you need to slip Sleep Talk onto several Pokémon, or feel forced to always run Wartortle to combat the never-ending Spikes (or worse yet, Sleep Talk Wartortle); you're free to build however you want, without having to run two or three answers to Jynx and a spinner on every bulky team. In particular, the lack of easy Spikes from Scolipede has made stall teams viable once again, as they aren't consistently pressured by extra damage hazards as they were before. Bulky teams are on the rise.

Do keep in mind that Spikes are not gone completely, because Garbodor and Roselia are great on both offensive and defensive teams, but they are nowhere near as omnipresent as they used to be. Running a Rapid Spinner is still worth consideration, especially on a team with several Pokémon weak to Stealth Rock, like Charizard. Speaking of whom, Charizard remains as dominant and powerful as ever, ruling the NU tier from atop his throne. Very few Pokémon can actually tank a Choice Specs Fire Blast and live to tell the tale—of those that do, less than a handful can survive any of its coverage attacks. Even with the rise of viable defensive teams, expect to see a lot of Charizard roaming about.

Metang has bippity boop bopped its way out of existence. While it's still reasonably bulky, there are so many other great options for Stealth Rock or a Normal-resistant Pokémon that it's hard to find a spot for Metang, whose presence is just asking for Charizard or Samurott to waltz in and scare it out. It's dead weight offensively and almost always halts momentum for your team; you'd be better off with a Pokémon like Probopass or Regirock, depending on your team's composition.

Water-types no longer have Jynx to stand in their way; in fact, Water-types have quickly risen as some of the most effective and powerful Pokémon to use in NU. Samurott and Ludicolo have fantastic special sets that they can use to punch through defensive and offensive teams alike, and the former no longer has to use Megahorn to cover Jynx (though it's still useful to hit Ludicolo). In addition, Samurott and Carracosta have fantastic boosting sets that can no longer be revenged by Choice Scarf Jynx, so offensive teams have to be cautious and run Pokémon like bulky Seismitoad in order to keep them in check.

But why were they banned four months after the XY metagame began?


The primary reason for the suspect test happening was because many people weren't happy with the state of the metagame at the end of BW. Of course, with XY around, a lot of people's attention shifted towards the new metagames and Pokémon, so the issues with BW NU were pushed aside. But when SPL started, I began to receive more and more complaints from people, to the point that I decided to consider a suspect test. After a few days of discussing both "Should a suspect test take place?" and "If a suspect test should take place, what is the best way to go about it?" I came to a decision about how to handle it. The system was a small council of players that have both a history in NU, and consistent play at high level. I wanted the people voting to both be people that I could trust to vote, but also cared enough about the outcome.

There were definitely issues that we faced during the suspect test. The primary one being the time pressure, with SPL running at the time, many of the players wanted a decision to be made ASAP, which is something that couldn't be done because of the importance of the test. Luckily, All-Star week was just about to happen, so we were able to make a decision during it without having too much of an adverse effect on SPL play.

So, why did I run a suspect test months after XY began? Because I had to. I would have preferred having the metagame be settled by the end of BW, but that just didn't end up being the case. And it is my job to make sure that the NU metagame is as great as it can possibly be!


As a whole, Jynx and Scolipede made a huge impact on NU, and now that they're gone the tier finally feels complete as we prepare for XY NU in the coming few months. Let's hope we don't have to do this all over again next time!

« Previous Article Home Next Article »