Introduction to PU

Interview by TRC, WhiteDMist, scorpdestroyer, galbia, Magnemite, Detective Dell, and Robert Alfons. Art by Regime.
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Welcome to the PU metagame! Don't mind the smell; Garbodor is everywhere. "What is PU," you ask? It's the tier below NeverUsed, of course! PU is where all the Pokémon that are underused in the NeverUsed tier go. PU doesn't stand for anything in particular; it's just a pun on the fact that these poor Pokémon "stink" in most of the higher tiers. But don't be fooled, because PU is just as complex a tier as OU. We just have more cutemons, diamonds in the rough, and treasures hidden in the trash than the higher tiers can hope to have.

The initial thread for PU was created in the beginning of August 2014. Some of the more notable Pokémon in PU Beta included Samurott, Leafeon, Exeggutor, Lilligant, Pangoro, Cacturne, and Torkoal.

Torkoal was our best Rapid Spinner, being the only one that had a chance of beating most of the popular Ghost-types. Cacturne was a versatile wallbreaker, as well as a good offensive Spiker. Pangoro was an underrated powerhouse with great coverage, power, and access to Parting Shot to take advantage of its low Speed. Lilligant was a deadly sweeper, and Healing Wish made it an excellent supportive Choice Scarf user as well. Exeggutor was a wallbreaker, devastating teams with its Choice Specs set; it also was a great Sun sweeper, defensive tank, and SubSeed user. Leafeon was one of the best offensive Pokémon in the tier, with great bulk, Speed, power, and movepool; Swords Dance made it a great sweeper with an excellent coverage move in Knock Off. Leafeon also happened to be a great sun sweeper and check, and it had Baton Pass to make its teammates even more threatening.

Finally, we have Samurott. During the Beta Stage, the PU Council unanimously placed Samurott in the S-Rank of the preliminary Viability Rankings, making it the only Pokémon in that rank. With a great Swords Dance set and a special offensive set, it was nearly impossible to predict what Samurott would do until it had already attacked you. It could make use of its variety in move options to confuse the opponent even more, with its Substitute set and mixed set being relatively common as well. Its decent bulk made up a little for its average at best Speed, but its powerful priority Aqua Jet was always something to watch out for. Without a doubt, these were among the best Pokémon in the PU tier.

They left.

In September, PU left Beta and became an official Other Metagame. We received our own permanent ladder on Pokémon Showdown!, and Antar would retrieve PU's usage stats. It also coincided with the 3-month tier shifts. We lost all 7 of the aforementioned Pokémon to the NU tier; in return, we received Haunter, Lickilicky, and Gourgeist-XL. A slightly uneven trade, but one that altered the PU tier significantly.

First Council Vote


PU may be the bottom of the barrel, but this barrel still has had some overpowering threats to deal with. Musharna was the first Pokémon to be banned from PU this generation, and it's not hard to see why. Musharna was incredibly bulky, which made it almost impossible to 2HKO with neutral attacks, and with the lack of Pokémon with strong super effective STAB moves due the rarity of their typing in PU, Musharna walled at least 80% of the tier. Musharna was also a great Calm Mind sweeper, pivot, and support Pokémon; this could all occur on a single set! It always gained plenty of free turns to spread status and even alleviate it with Heal Bell. Many of its "counters" were crippled by Thunder Wave, or failed to OHKO it without a good amount of prior damage. It hated Dark-types and Knock Off is a common move in PU, but even so, it could persevere against them considering they were uncommon and most Knock Off users didn't have STAB on the move. Reliable recovery and a great movepool made it customizable for any type of team, making it the stuff of nightmares. Its best set was a Calm Mind + Baton Pass set, which could use its superb bulk to setup on a multitude of Pokémon, and pass to a receiver. It was a close decision (barely avoiding a tie), but in the end, the PU Council finally decided to ban Musharna.

Top Threats


Sneasel is up there as one of the most devastating offensive Pokémon in PU. Its rare Dark typing is very valuable, and it makes Sneasel one of the few answers to Psychic-types. Sneasel also hits an amazing Speed tier; base 125 Speed allows it to outspeed most of the relevant metagame. Sneasel's exceptional Speed stat is backed up by a solid Attack stat, which makes Sneasel quite threatening to offensive teams. Stall teams and other more defensive teams also have few switch-ins to Sneasel, and the few common ones (Poliwrath and Throh) hate having their Leftovers removed by Knock Off. Sneasel also has access to Ice Shard, which is valuable priority for hitting Choice Scarf users. Pursuit and Taunt are also great moves, as the former allows Sneasel to checkmate Psychic-types such as Kadabra and the latter troubles defensive answers to it, such as Avalugg. All in all, Sneasel is an incredibly threatening Pokémon, and can really trouble offensive teams that luck the bulk needed to take it on.


Carracosta is one of PU's most dangerous threats. It has a fantastic defensive typing that allows it to set up on Pokémon such as Tauros, Purugly, and Dodrio. Its physical Shell Smash sets are the most common, taking advantage of Solid Rock to gain setup opportunities as well as having a dangerous STAB combination that few Pokémon resist in PU. Carracosta also has access to Aqua Jet, meaning that foes such as Raichu and Choice Scarf Rotom-F cannot revenge kill it after some entry hazard damage. Carracosta can also go mixed or fully special to catch its usual counters such as Tangela, Gourgeist, and Poliwrath off guard. Some prefer to run Weakness Policy and Sturdy, making it a dangerous hole-puncher early game. You can even move Carracosta's EVs into HP and take advantage of its good physical bulk, defensive typing, and Solid Rock to turn it into a solid physical tank that can set up Stealth Rock and continuously check the likes of Tauros and Sneasel.


Barbaracle is another great offensive Pokémon which, like Carracosta, is known for its Shell Smash sets. Its typing is just as good as Carracosta's, however, Barbaracle has less bulk and lacks Solid Rock or Sturdy, making it more one-dimensional, as it can't run defensive sets and lacks the Special Attack for mixed and special sets to be viable for it, meaning Barbaracle cannot pick its counters. Don't let this fool you into thinking Barbaracle is simply a worse Carracosta, as it has a couple of advantages which make it a reasonable alternative. Unlike Carracosta, Barbaracle is much faster; with a Jolly nature, +2 Barbaracle outspeeds all common Choice Scarf users, only failing against Choice Scarf Tauros and Ditto. Tough Claws also helps Barbaracle by increasing its damage output, which is handy, as Barbaracle prefers to use a Jolly nature. Unfortunately, it still often lives in the shadow of Carracosta because it finds it much more difficult to set up a Shell Smash most of the time due to its inferior bulk, yet it is still a threatening sweeper in its own right.


Poliwrath could possibly be the best defensive Pokémon in the tier. It counters many of the tier's top threats, such as Sneasel, Carracosta, and Barbaracle, while also being a decent check to Pokémon such as Flareon and Tauros simply because of its bulk. Poliwrath has access to Circle Throw, a move that is amazing on its defensive set, and is often paired with Garbodor because of Garbodor's access to Spikes and Toxic Spikes. Circle Throw allows Poliwrath to rack up entry hazard damage and shuffle out troublesome foes attempting to switch into it. This move is always seen on Poliwrath's most popular set, the defensive RestTalk set, as Poliwrath has no instant recovery. This is more than enough for Poliwrath to do its job, though, and it is actually a benefit to it because when chosen by Sleep Talk, Circle Throw has regular priority. It also makes switching into Poliwrath while it is asleep annoying, as the switch-in often just ends up getting phazed out. Poliwrath isn't just a defensive Pokémon though; offensive sets running SubPunch are viable as well, as Focus Punches from base 95 Attack are incredibly strong. Poliwrath is just an excellent glue Pokémon for all teams and is one of the most common Pokémon in the tier.


Garbodor may look like a pile of garbage, but it is actually one of the best supporting Pokémon in the tier. With access to both Spikes and Toxic Spikes, Garbodor is one of the most efficient entry hazard setters, and with PU having few hazard removers, this is an incredibly valuable role. There are few Pokémon that can stack up residual damage like Garbodor can, especially with Rocky Helmet and Aftermath. Garbodor also has a reasonable offensive movepool that discourages particular Pokémon from setting up on it. Gunk Shot breaks Serperior's Substitutes, Seed Bomb dissuades Carracosta and Barbaracle from setting up, and Drain Punch stops Bastiodon's Magic Coat attempts. With decent Speed for an entry hazard layer, great bulk, and an excellent defensive typing, only faster Taunt users and Psychic-type Pokémon can really stop it from setting up. Garbodor even has two flavors to its hazard laying: a fast Weak Armor set with Focus Sash and Explosion is a suicide setter for offense, and bulky Aftermath with Black Sludge is a more reliable pivot for balanced teams. Garbodor is immensely important in PU, and is one of the reasons why even a mediocre hazard remover is often necessary.


Lumps of rock are usually harmless and don't do much, but Golem is an exception, being one of the tier's best Stealth Rock setters. It has impressive bulk as well as Sturdy, which aids it defensively, but Golem is in general a really handy Pokémon on any team simply because it's also very strong offensively, which makes its similar to RU Rhyperior in this regard. Its STAB moves are both very strong, with Rock Blast being able to break Substitutes—and still hurt the Pokémon hiding behind them—and Kricketune's Focus Sash. Golem also has a couple of good options for its final moveslot, with Sucker Punch providing valuable priority and Roar phazing out setup sweepers attempting to use their boosting move. Golem is also a great check to many other Pokémon simply because of its typing and bulk, specifically Scyther, a dangerous sweeper. This is another reason why Golem is so common on a variety of different teams. Golem can even use a Weakness Policy Rock Polish set to get to +2 in Attack, Speed, and Special Attack in a single turn, at which point it is incredibly dangerous and can easily sweep a team. Overall, Golem's great set of resistances, access to Stealth Rock, and good offensive presence make it a nice choice on both offensive and balanced teams.


A rather underrated Pokémon in early PU, Ninetales is one of the best setup sweepers in the tier, and is also one of the only relevant Fire-types, making it an exceptional choice on offense. With its decent special bulk and Flash Fire, Ninetales can setup on many Pokémon, but it usually aims to set up by forcing out one of the many foes it threatens, such as most Grass-types, Avalugg, and Klang. To top it off, Ninetales has a very good base Speed of 100, which is quite high by PU standards. Ninetales's most common set is tNasty Plot / Fire Blast / Energy Ball / Psyshock, which covers most of the tier as well as dedicated special walls thanks to Psyshock's ability to hit the target's Defense instead of Special Defense. Some sets also run Substitute to shield Ninetales from revenge killers and status, while other variants use a Passho Berry over the usual Leftovers / Life Orb in order to prevent revenge killing attempts from the likes of Simipour and Aqua Jet Carracosta. Unfortunately, Ninetales has rather mediocre power before it sets up, but with the amount of setup opportunities it finds, this is rarely an issue.


While its NFE status might suggest otherwise, Piloswine is a very effective Pokémon in the PU metagame. Thanks to its all-around great stats and Eviolite-bolstered bulk, Piloswine is arguably the most effective Stealth Rock setter in the tier. Its good Ice / Ground typing and access to a useful ability in Thick Fat make it one of the best checks to the popular Electric-types that roam the tier, preventing them from pivoting with Volt Switch. Piloswine's Ice / Ground coverage is also very good in PU and gives great offensive coverage that, in combination with its decent Attack stat, access to a STAB priority move in Ice Shard, and moderately high Base Power moves in Earthquake, Icicle Spear, and Icicle Crash, makes it a very scary Pokémon to face. A lot of balanced and offensive teams struggle to switch into Piloswine, and it is very difficult to OHKO. Keep in mind, however, that Piloswine is a tank and not a wall, as it can't be switched in multiple times due to its lack of recovery moves and its decent but not outstanding bulk. This doesn't really prevent Piloswine too much from doing its job though, and it thoroughly deserves its position at #1 in PU's weighted usage stats.


PU is a tier that has plenty of weak Bug-types, but Scyther is an exception. Scyther is one of the larger threats in PU, with great power, exceptional Speed, and nice coverage with only its STAB moves. Scyther is always seen running one of many different offensive sets. Choice Band Scyther takes advantage of U-turn to hit hard while maintaining offensive momentum. Eviolite is great for bulky Swords Dance sets, as it makes it easier for Scyther to set up and sweep. Scyther can even Baton Pass its Attack boosts to a teammate if it can't defeat its foe. Its Technician ability is also very helpful, as it enables Scyther's weaker moves, such as Aerial Ace and Bug Bite, to have the same impact that stronger STAB moves would bring. Scyther does have it's shortcomings though; a 4x weakness to Stealth Rock and Golem's popularity can sometimes make it hard for it to do its job, but with a bit of support from its teammates, Scyther proves itself as one of PU's defining Pokémon.


Tauros is one of the fastest (and best) Pokémon in the tier. Tauros's great Speed lends it to offensive roles, which are benefited by Tauros's ability Sheer Force, which in turn boosts the power of some of Tauros's relevant moves. Tauros's most common set takes advantage of Sheer Force with Life Orb, allowing it to hit hard and fast with Rock Climb, Zen Headbutt, and Earthquake. Choice Scarf Tauros is another popular set. With a blazing Speed tier, it easily revenge kills most setup sweepers and even some weather sweepers while using Intimidate to sponge weaker physical hits. This makes Tauros one of the best Choice Scarf users in the tier, if not the best. Some Life Orb Tauros sets prefer to run Substitute to avoid status and defeat Misdreavus, while others use Fire Blast to get around Avalugg. These are not the only sets Tauros can run, though; its can use a Substitute + Endeavor set to lure in its usual counters, such as Poliwrath and Avalugg, and bring them down to 1 HP for a teammate to KO easily. Tauros's Speed, power, and movepool make it one of the top offensive Pokémon in the PU metagame.


Bouffalant not only boasts a magnificent afro over Tauros, but it is also an incredible wallbreaker in PU. Bouffalant is a great counter to most Grass-types thanks to Sap Sipper, grabbing a free Attack boost against foes such as Tangela, Serperior, and Roselia, which Bouffalant would otherwise have problems breaking through. This gives Bouffalant a free opportunity to setup a Substitute, and Substitute + Swords Dance is Bouffalant's most popular set for good reason. Bouffalant can break through many bulky walls by setting up Substitute on their weak attacks and then Swords Dance to muscle past them, and with Bouffalant's good bulk and Sap Sipper, setup opportunities are plentiful. Choice Band is another popular set, allowing Bouffalant to hit hard right off the bat without having to set up, and Assault Vest makes Bouffalant quite handy against sun, as it amplifies Bouffalant's already good special bulk while enabling it to tank attacks from most special attackers when necessary. It is rather slow, so it has less use against offensive teams, but defensive ones are more popular in PU, and Bouffalant still has the bulk and Sap Sipper to have plenty of use against them.


Chatot is one of PU's most potent stallbreakers because of its Nasty Plot set, which works wonders against stall (and defensive teams in general) thanks to the insane power of its +2 Boomburst. Referred to by some as "the hax bird," Chatot can be a pain to face simply because of its signature move, Chatter, which has a guaranteed chance to inflict confusion. Chatter will at one point cause every PU player to want to rip their hair out and is Chatot's main way of damaging Ghost-types such as Gourgeist-XL, Gourgeist-S, and Misdreavus. Chatot also finds plenty of setup opportunities by using Encore, which allows it to lock an opposing Pokémon (usually on a stall team) into a harmless move, such as Protect or Stealth Rock, which gives Chatot free rein to set up Nasty Plot. Chatot isn't even limited to being great against stall; with the aid of Sticky Web, Chatot can level offensive teams even without setup. While some stall teams run Soundproof Bastiodon as a way to prevent Chatot from doing anything at all, this is becoming uncommon because of Musharna's ban and Bastiodon's general passiveness, so Chatot is still a definite threat to prepare for.


As the one of newest Ghost-types in PU, Haunter rarely fails to make its presence felt. As it is frail, Haunter works best by taking advantage of its immunities to switch in and bring terror. With above average Speed stat (enough to outspeed common threats such as Mr. Mime and Chatot) and one of the highest Special Attack stats in PU, Haunter vies for the role of "best offensive spinblocker" in the tier. Its most often seen set is equivalent to that of its father, Gengar, in OU: a Life Orb 3 attacks + Destiny Bond / Taunt set which aims to either use Haunter's STAB moves + Thunderbolt to damage the opposing team and then take a bothersome wall down with it by using Destiny Bond or limit the recovery of a defensive team with Taunt. Substitute + Disable / Pain Split + Will-O-Wisp is also a nice way of using Haunter, and Choice Scarf with Trick is a great asset to offense. Altogether, Haunter's versatility makes it one of the most worrying Pokémon to face in PU.


Sticky Web is an amazing hazard in PU, as two notable features of the tier are its abundance of strong, slow Pokémon, and its lack of entry hazard removers. While Sticky Web is in on your opponent's side of the field, Pokémon such as Marowak and Ursaring can be very dangerous to offensive teams. Kricketune is arguably the best Sticky Web user in PU. While it has mediocre Speed, it can still outrun relevant threats such as Piloswine, Golem, and Carracosta and either Taunt them or set up Sticky Web before it gets KOed. Taunt is an extremely useful move to prevent Kricketune from being setup bait for opposing entry hazard setters and to prevent slow, bulky Defog users from removing Sticky Web. Kricketune also has Knock Off and Endeavor in its arsenal; both of these are extremely annoying moves that soften up bulky foes for the rest of the team. The only things really stopping Kricketune are faster Taunt users, such as Misdreavus and Serperior, but these are relatively uncommon and Kricketune is still one of the most reliable Sticky Web setters, especially as it can preserve itself until it gets a better matchup against a different Pokémon, usually after a KO.


Lickilicky is the best special wall in the PU tier. It has an invaluable niche as being the best (and fattest) Wish Passer as well, cementing its role on most stall and balanced teams. Lickilicky's typing, while giving it no resistances, leaves it with only one uncommon weakness to Fighting, which means it's very difficult to break through considering its massive bulk. It isn't weak offensively either, and it has access to Body Slam and Knock Off to avoid being setup bait for Ghost-types or Speed-reliant sweepers. This makes Lickilicky one of the best answers to plenty of common Pokémon, including Kadabra, Serperior, Altaria, Ninetales, Rotom-F, and Camerupt. For these reasons, Lickilicky's specially defensive set is almost mandatory on both stall and balance teams, as it is a check to many Pokémon that could be troubling.


Purugly is a notable revenge killer in PU for one reason: its Defiant ability. Defog is a very common move in PU, and Purugly takes advantage of that to switch in and gain a two-stage Attack boost. Purugly is also great insurance against Sticky Web teams, as Sticky Web activates Defiant as well, while Purugly's priority Fake Out and Sucker Punch ignore how fast the opposing Pokémon are. Purugly is rather frail, so switching in on an attacking move instead of Defog can be a nuisance. Still, Fake Out + Sucker Punch, a great base Speed, and Knock Off is a deadly combination, and Purugly even has important utility options such as U-turn and Taunt. It makes a great addition to entry hazard-based teams, because it deters many Pokémon from using Defog immediately, allowing you time to use your offensive pressure to overwhelm them; Garbodor, Purugly, and a Stealth Rock setter form a common core, and with the addition of Circle Throw Poliwrath and a bulky Ghost-type, an effective entry hazard-based team is already formed. Purugly is just one of the most dangerous offensive Pokémon to face because it requires no setup, and its Speed and priority make it annoyingly difficult to take down.


Roselia is one of PU's best defensive Pokémon. It walls a large amount of special attackers, most notably Serperior, and it also has Spikes to take advantage of the free turns it gains. It even has access to Synthesis to keep itself healthy! Roselia usually runs a fully specially defensive spread to check most Water-, Grass-, and Electric-types. However, physically defensive spreads can allow Roselia to become a good mixed wall that can also take on Fighting- and Ground-types better. Opponents also have to take care while switching into it: most Roselia can threaten to poison them and hit them hard with Sludge Bomb, and some variants also run Sleep Powder. It does have mediocre physical bulk and functions significantly less well if it takes a Knock Off from something like Throh or physical Serperior, but it is still a great Pokémon that fits well on all team playstyles.


While it is the only Rotom forme to make it all the way down to PU, don't let that lead you into believing it's ineffective. Rotom-F has amazing offensive STABs, hitting almost everything in the tier for at least neutral damage. Its access to Volt Switch also allows it to pivot out of dangerous situations, and it is made even more potent because most Ground-types dislike taking a STAB Blizzard. Sadly, it has to rely on the inaccurate Blizzard as a STAB move, but nonetheless, it is pretty versatile and it can run several sets to surprise walls that try and soak up its attacks. Its most common set is a Choice Scarf set, which allows Rotom-F to act as a great revenge killer and momentum grabber. With Choice Scarf Rotom-F, offensive teams have a way to revenge kill boosted Carracosta and Huntail as well as cripple walls with Trick. Some sets utilize ChestoRest or Expert Belt in conjunction with Will-O-Wisp, luring and burning Pokémon such as Piloswine and wearing them down. SubSplit sets with Life Orb can also be used, allowing Rotom-F to set up Substitutes to shield itself and wear down walls such as Lickilicky with Pain Split. Rotom-F is a very versatile Pokémon but is also one of the best glue Pokémon in the tier with its Choice Scarf set, and it finds itself on many teams for this reason.


Serperior is one of the fastest Pokémon in PU, faster than even the common benchmark for speedy Pokémon, Tauros. Unlike most other fast Pokémon, Serperior sports decent bulk, which is incredibly handy for all of its common sets. With Serperior's rather large movepool, it has plenty of sets that it uses, giving it impressive versatility. Its most common set is the Calm Mind set, which equips a Life Orb, Giga Drain, and a Hidden Power, alongside a utility move. This set takes advantage of Serperior's Speed and bulk to set up Calm Mind, as well as gaining consistent recovery from Giga Drain. Serperior can also run a Coil set with Leaf Blade, Knock Off, and either Aqua Tail, Taunt, or Substitute, boosting physically side instead of specially. Unlike the Calm Mind set, this one beats special walls, such as Flareon, more easily, and the Defense boosts provide extra insurance against possible revenge killers, such as Sneasel. Both of these sets can run Taunt or Substitute, with the former helping Serperior to prevent recovery or status, while the latter allows Serperior to bring itself into Overgrow range and shield itself from status. An alternative over the Coil set is Swords Dance, which is stronger immediately, something than can be desired for certain teams. Apart from offensive sets, Serperior can also run effective supportive sets. Serperior can disrupt foes with a set of Glare, Dragon Tail, Taunt, and Knock Off or Giga Drain, shuffling foes in and out and crippling them. This takes advantage of Serperior's good bulk and Speed to paralyze and wear down foes. Dual Screens Serperior is another great supporting set that Serperior can run, and it fits perfectly on dual screens hyper offense teams. It has access to both screens, blistering Speed, and Taunt, allowing it to set up both screens for its frailer teammates more often than not. Other, more niche sets, such as SubSeed, are usable but more inconsistent. Sadly, Serperior is rather weak when unboosted and is troubled by common Pokémon such as Sneasel and Flareon. However, it is still a versatile, fast, and bulky Pokémon that can fulfill the role of either a sweeper or a supporter.


Throh is the epitome of a PU tank. It is slow, yet bulky, and hits very hard for a defensive Pokémon. As one of the better checks to Sneasel, Throh has a place on many bulky offensive teams. It has a good offensive movepool, with Knock Off being very notable; this gives it an important niche over Poliwrath as it can actually damage Ghost-types such as Misdreavus, Gourgeist-S and Gourgeist-XL. Its other main niche over Poliwrath is its ability Guts, which means that Throh is free to switch into Pokémon with Will-O-Wisp without fear of being crippled, and it also benefits from Toxic Spikes being on your side of the field. Throh is most commonly used as a defensive Pokémon either with or without RestTalk (usually without), though it is sometimes a late-game sweeper with Bulk Up, an Assault Vest tank, or even occasionally a Choice Band wallbreaker. Throh may seem to live in Poliwrath's shadow, but it has numerous advantages over Poliwrath to the point where it's a very viable alternative to Poliwrath for particular balance teams, especially those using a Water-type Defog user such as Pelipper and not wanting to stack weaknesses.


Meet Avalugg, the bulkiest physical wall in the PU tier. With near-impenetrable physical bulk and a reliable recovery move, it walls most physical attackers for days. Avalugg's absolutely humongous bulk allows it to wall practically every physical attacker in the tier; in fact, the only ones it may look like it can't wall because of their super effective STAB attacks aren't even that helpful against it. Golem, for example, has to hope to get two 5-hit Rock Blasts in a row, while Avalugg can easily Recover stall or do a ton of damage with Avalanche. Avalugg is also one of the only Rapid Spin users in the tier, and because of its amazing bulk, it rarely struggles to get a spin off. Even when fully invested, Avalugg has poor special bulk as well. All these negatives may make this iceberg a mediocre spinner, but you'll find that trying to force your way past Avalugg is a titanic endeavor.


Dodrio combines the common physical Normal-type STAB in PU with Scyther's Flying-type STAB to make a unique physical bird. Thanks to its good offensive stats, excellent STAB moves in Brave Bird and Return, and access to Knock Off, Dodrio can be quite the pain to switch into. Its great base 100 Speed stat makes it one of the faster offensive threats in PU, which is a tier with almost no good Steel-types and only a few good Rock-types. Dodrio's coverage issues that plague it in higher tiers are not much of an issue in this metagame. It is generally seen using Choice items, but it can also run a Life Orb set with Taunt or Roost to give it more utility or longevity, respectively. However, Dodrio is plagued by the presence of faster attackers, as it isn't that bulky, so Pokémon such as Sneasel can be bothersome. Carracosta, another S-ranked threat, resists Dodrio's STAB moves and KOes it back easily, which is annoying for Dodrio, as it outright loses to 2 of the 3 best Pokémon in the tier. Granted, it outspeeds and OHKOes the 3rd one, and Dodrio still beats many A-ranked Pokémon, so it is a decent wallbreaker in practice.


As PU's resident Fire-type nuke, Flareon is a threat to watch out for. A STAB Flare Blitz coming from one of the highest Attack stats in PU is nothing to laugh at, and it naturally leaves Flareon with very few switch-ins. This is amplified by the fact that the only real coverage move Flareon gets, Superpower, easily deals with many of the Rock-types and Flash Fire Pokémon that would otherwise be easy switch-ins to it. Flareon can be effective with both a Choice Band set and a Guts set with Toxic Orb. However, offensive power isn't the only thing Flareon has going for it. Its great special bulk and access to useful support moves in Wish and Heal Bell means that Flareon is also a good special wall for stall teams. However, its low physical bulk and Stealth Rock weakness can hold it back a bit in this role. Nevertheless, Flareon's best set, its Choice Band set, is incredibly powerful, and all teams need a switch-in to it, even offense, because if it is aided by Sticky Web, it will mow down everything.

Gourgeist-XL and Gourgeist-S

We received Gourgeist-XL during the September tier shift, and it is now one of the best defensive Pokémon in the tier. Its great typing and bulk make it one of the best spinblockers, as well as a check to a slew of physical attackers such as Tauros, Poliwrath, Barbaracle, and Carracosta. Will-O-Wisp increases its physical bulk even further, and Leech Seed makes up for its (pre-ORAS) lack of reliable recovery to a degree; this causes a large amount of residual damage to be inflicted. However, not all is good for this jack-o'-lantern; many Pokémon resist its STAB moves, and it rarely carries more than one offensive move. While its typing is great, it leaves it with unfortunate weaknesses to common attacking types in PU, such as Fire, Ice, and Flying.

Gourgeist-S is a faster, less bulky version of Gourgeist-XL, which makes it able to successfully use a SubSeed set. It is weaker offensively than its brother, but its excellent base 99 Speed stat makes it better on more balanced teams that need to inflict a quick burn on the foe.


Kadabra is a common special attacker in PU that takes a role similar to that of Alakazam in BW OU, usually with a Focus Sash. Because of Magic Guard, Kadabra is immune to entry hazard and status damage, making it a brilliant revenge killer against offensive teams when using Focus Sash; this is aided by its reasonable coverage in Psychic / Psyshock, Signal Beam, and Energy Ball. Kadabra is also very good against defensive teams with its Life Orb set, which stall has few switch-ins to, especially after entry hazard damage. Its access to Encore aids it even more against stall teams, as it allows Kadabra to lock foes into a status move, forcing them to switch out while Kadabra dents a switch-in. Kadabra does have its flaws though; it offers no defensive synergy due to its terrible bulk, which means it never has an opportunity to switch in against any kind of team unless the player predicts a status move or a double switch. This doesn't detract from Kadabra's offensive ability though, so make sure to use it for what it's intended for.


Heatmor is a powerful wallbreaker in PU and is one of the only mixed ones. It has decent power in addition to a wide movepool that makes it difficult to switch into, and it also has nice coverage moves for a Fire-type, such as Giga Drain to defeat Rock- and Water-types, Focus Blast or Superpower to dent Bastiodon and Lickilicky, as well as physical options such as Sucker Punch or Knock Off to either snipe faster Pokémon or wear down Pokémon such as Flareon. For these reasons, mixed Heatmor sets are the most common because they can be used to break down a variety of Pokémon so Heatmor's teammates can proceed to sweep. Unfortunately, it is rather slow, not very bulky, and faces competition from Ninetales and Flareon, which are other Fire-types that either boast either similar coverage or power. However, Heatmor provides a good mix between coverage and power, allowing it to function as a good wallbreaker for offensive teams.


One of the greatest wallbreakers in PU, Marowak makes use of its signature item, Thick Club, to boost its Attack without being locked into a move. Marowak has poor special bulk and weaknesses to common special attacking types, but its sheer utility makes this easy to overlook. Marowak is a good offensive Stealth Rock user, especially because it can actually defeat most of the common Defog users one-on-one with its powerful Double Edge or Stone Edge. While Marowak has terrible Speed, it has enough to outspeed most defensive Defog users with some investment, and it can also be a great addition to Sticky Web and Trick Room teams, as offensive teams rarely have Pokémon that can switch into it. Marowak also fills an interesting niche of being able to use Bonemerang, which allows it to beat Substitute and Sturdy users (specifically Golem) by hitting them twice. The rest of Marowak's movepool is colorful, but it has all it needs in Knock Off, one of the best moves in the game. Its typing and Speed can be problematic at times, but this doesn't stop Marowak from being one of the most difficult Pokémon in PU to switch into.


Misdreavus is one of the best spinblockers in PU and is a good check to many common Pokémon such as Bouffalant, Tauros, and Poliwrath. It is also quite bulky with Eviolite and has decent a Speed stat, which makes it a decent threat. With an expansive support movepool that includes Will-O-Wisp, Taunt, Heal Bell, Perish Song, and Pain Split, Misdreavus cements itself as one of the best additions to an offensive team with a plethora of utility options. It differentiates itself from Haunter because of its much higher bulk, but still good Special Attack. It also often uses a decent offensive set with Nasty Plot, taking advantage of its good bulk to set up. Unfortunately, it has no reliable recovery and it hates Knock Off for obvious reasons, leaving it prone to being worn down in its attempts to show off its utility. Regardless, Misdreavus can use its good typing, bulk, and Levitate to act as a good pivot for offensive teams and stall teams alike—not too shabby for the NFE femme fatale.

Mr. Mime

While its silly exterior may suggest otherwise, Mr. Mime is one of the most threatening offensive Pokémon in PU. It is one of the only offensive Fairy-types available in the tier, and it is without a doubt the best. Mr. Mime is a terror to stall with its Nasty Plot set, which rips through nearly every wall in PU after a boost thanks to its great STAB combination, ability to hit both physical and special walls hard thanks to STAB Psyshock, and solid coverage options in Focus Blast and Technician-boosted Hidden Power Ground. Even without a Nasty Plot boost, Mr. Mime hits very hard in general and is incredibly difficult for offensive teams to switch into. Mr. Mime can also provide quite a bit of utility outside of just attacking, as it can also use moves such as Healing Wish, Taunt, and even Baton Pass effectively. It is also a hard counter to the ever-threatening Chatot if it uses Soundproof. Despite all of its amazing qualities, Mr. Mime is held back from being a top tier threat due to two major flaws: its horrible frailty, and its average at best base 90 Speed stat, both of which can hold it back quite a bit against certain teams.


PU is a tier with many viable Electric-types. Raichu is one of the fastest relevant ones, with only Zebstrika and Electrode being faster. Raichu is probably the best of them because of its wide movepool, which contains coverage moves such as Grass Knot and Focus Blast and support moves, most notably Encore and Nasty Plot. While it is Raichu's best set, Raichu can also go physical and take advantage of the Volt Tackle's higher base power and Knock Off's utility. Because of its high Speed and coverage moves, Raichu is one of the biggest threats to offensive teams. However, Raichu is pretty frail, so it relies on Encore and Substitute to find opportunities to set up, and it does have some answers on both balance and stall, such as Camerupt, a common Pokémon that checks Raichu consistently. Still, Raichu is one of the most dangerous special threats in the tier, and the best bet for unprepared teams to take it on is to riskily switch around it to stall its Life Orb recoil.


Tangela is a very physically bulky pivot in PU. Its Regenerator ability allows it to scout for moves and constantly pivot into threats while healing back most of the damage taken. It also has access to a good array of support moves, such as Sleep Powder, Leech Seed, and Stun Spore, while also having a decent offensive presence. Its most common sets include the offensive set, which mainly invests EVs into Special Attack; as Tangela already has huge physical bulk, the EVs can be shifted. Its other popular set pours EVs into Defense and is better suited for stall teams rather than balance. It faces competition from Roselia and the Gourgeist formes; the former can set up Spikes and absorb Toxic Spikes, while the latter can spinblock; they both also sport better Special Defense, and defensive teams can't afford to stack two Grass-types in a tier with Ninetales and Sneasel being so common. With that said, however, neither of the other Grass-type Pokémon mentioned can pivot into physical moves and strike back as effectively as Tangela can.


Togetic is one of the best Fairy-types in PU. It is extremely bulky with Eviolite and has a great typing, allowing it to check Grass-, Fighting-, and Dark-types very easily. With access to Roost, Togetic is able to consistently switch into foes such as Tangela, Throh, and Mightyena in a match. Togetic is also one of PU's most reliable Defog users, capable of fitting onto bulky offense teams as a defensive pivot that can clear entry hazards. Togetic's defensive set usually runs Defog, Roost, and an attacking move such as Dazzling Gleam. The last moveslot can then be filled with any move the team requires, including Heal Bell, Toxic, Thunder Wave, or even a slow Baton Pass to gain momentum. This is not the only thing Togetic can do, though. Togetic can use a reliable Nasty Plot + Baton Pass set, taking advantage of its good bulk and typing to set up Nasty Plot then safely bringing in a sweeper with a slow Baton Pass. This set generally runs Nasty Plot, Roost, Baton Pass, and an offensive move such as Dazzling Gleam or even Fire Blast to help teammates wear down Steel-types. Unfortunately, Togetic has low offensive presence without Nasty Plot and is vulnerable to Taunt. However, its good bulk and typing easily allow it to carry out its intended roles in most cases.

Other Relevant Pokémon

This is a huge list of Pokémon, but PU is an incredibly versatile tier with upwards of 100 viable choices for a team. The ones above are some of the most defining Pokémon in the tier, but there are many others that get a small mention here for being great choices, but are not quite up to par with the ones above.

Torterra is a great Stealth Rock setter and wallbreaker with access to Bullet Seed, a great asset against Golem leads. Torterra's coverage and difficulty to KO (the most common Ice-type attack outside of Sneasel's moves is the inaccurate Blizzard) make it one of the best offensive Stealth Rock setters, right up there with Golem, Marowak, and Carracosta. Glalie is the second best Spiker in the tier and has an advantage over Garbodor with its Taunt and Ice-type STAB. PU also has many Water / Flying types: Pelipper is a brilliant defensive Defogger, Mantine has an effective offensive Rain Dance set, and Swanna blends the two with its offensive Defog + Roost set. Huntail is the forefront of SmashPass, something that can be devastating when used correctly. Simipour is the 5th Water-type mentioned, and it's SubSalac Nasty Plot set is incredibly underrated and very anti-meta, for now at least. Stoutland, Sawsbuck, and Victreebel stand as mandatory slots for their respective weathers. Guts and Quick Feet Ursaring are both strong wallbreakers, and Altaria and Drifblim are common sweepers. Rapidash fills a unique niche as a fast physical Fire-type, and it has Wild Charge and Megahorn for Pokémon that resist Fire. Frogadier takes a role similar to that of Greninja in OU, a fast Life Orb attacker that threatens offense, while Beeheyem is a slow wallbreaker, but with Choice Specs and its Analytic ability, it destroys even the bulkiest of walls. Carbink is a great suicide lead and weather setter, Camerupt and Bastiodon have unique niches on stall teams, and Mightyena can be a dangerous sweeper once it has gotten a KO thanks to Moxie.


Hazards Offense

Perhaps even more so than in most other tiers, hazard offense is a very reliable playstyle, partially because of the large amount of offensive Pokémon available but also because of the lack of viable entry hazard removers. All teams require Stealth Rock; don't think that Stealth Rock is only useful on offense, and PU teams will always have a Stealth Rock setter. Whether your Stealth Rock setter Piloswine, Golem, Marowak or Torterra, the entry hazard will be on every team. Spikes and Toxic Spikes are the hazards that differentiate this playstyle from standard offense. PU has access to many reliable Spikers; Glalie, Weak Armor Garbodor, and Delibird are good suicide Spikers, while Roselia and defensive Rocky Helmet Garbodor can be used as more defensive insurance and consistent Spikers. Toxic Spikes are also very devastating against opposing defensive teams, pressuring their walls and preventing them from being able to consistently check what they're supposed to, as well as forcing them to play carefully with their grounded Poison-type. If you want to keep hazards on your opponent's side field the whole game, PU has offensive spinblockers such as Haunter, Misdreavus and a more bulky spinblocker in Dusknoir, while there are a couple of Defog deterrants, such as Purugly and Wigglytuff. Hazard-stacking offense is also probably the easiest playstyle to get into.

Bulky Offense

Playing with bulky offense is just like owning an aquarium: you use a lot of tanks. A common team archetype in PU, bulky offensive teams make use of the tanks in the tier to apply offensive pressure to the opponent yet still be able to take a beating if necessary. Tanks, such as SubPunch Poliwrath and offensive Tangela, provide both offensive presence and defensive capabilities that make these kinds of teams function well. Frailer offensive Pokémon are also common sights, and at least one fully defensive or support Pokémon is likely. There are some great entry hazard setters that work on offensive teams, with Garbodor being a notable option. The key to using bulky offense is to remember that while it has decent bulk, such teams shouldn't be expected to take a lot of punishment. Stay on the offensive as much as possible and you'll be fine.

Sticky Web Offense

With a plethora of powerhouses with low-to-mediocre Speed in the PU tier, Sticky Web teams are naturally a major threat. Offensive powerhouses, such as Marowak and Flareon, make deadly use of Sticky Web to outspeed and smash through opposing teams. It heavily cripples opposing offensive teams, with these slower powerhouses suddenly being fast enough to be a continuous threat. In addition, Pokémon with already decent Speed, such as Dodrio and Haunter, now outspeed the entire unboosted PU tier and even some slower Choice Scarf users. Most effective on offensive teams, Sticky Web can be stacked alongside other entry hazards to place horrifying pressure on the opposing team. With some great offensive spinblockers, such as Misdreavus and Haunter, and a good Defiant Pokémon in Purugly, entry hazard removers do not have an easy time. Just the sheer offensive pressure of Sticky Web teams should make it difficult for any foe to remove the webbing from underneath their feet.

Sun Offense

Sun is one of the strongest weathers in PU. Victreebel is a Pokémon found on all good sun teams, absorbing Toxic Spikes, having good Speed in sun with Chlorophyll, access to a good boosting move in Growth, and access to powerful STAB and coverage moves such as Solar Beam, Sludge Bomb, and Weather Ball. Sawsbuck is another common Chlorophyll user in PU, and its good Speed in sun and power enable it to outspeed threats such as Choice Scarf Tauros while picking up the slack from Victreebel. Apart from Chlorophyll, powerful Fire-types such as Flareon and Simisear can wreak havoc in sun. As for sun setters, Carbink and Golem are terrific bulky sun setters that also have access to Stealth Rock. They also have Sturdy, ensuring that they get up at least one of sun or Stealth Rock in nearly every battle. Meanwhile, Volbeat and Meowstic-M have access to Prankster Sunny Day, and the former can annoy opponents with Encore and a slow U-turn. Sun teams usually do not have good defensive synergy and often have trouble with Pokémon such as Sneasel, relying on keeping up offensive momentum as much as possible to constantly pressure opponents.

Sand Offense

Sand is the second strongest weather in PU. It is also the only weather that has an automatic weather inducer in Hippopotas, which activates sand on switch-in, making it a difficult weather to stop. Hippopotas and Stoutland are compulsory on every sand team. The rest of the team is then focused on wearing down foes to allow Stoutland to clean up late-game while preserving Hippopotas as much as possible. This includes Pokémon such as Spikers and wallbreakers. There are not many other Pokémon that benefit from sand, unfortunately, although Rock-types, such as Carracosta, get a Special Defense boost. Hippopotas should be played conservately without exposing it to moves that might KO it early-game. It should not remain on the battlefield for too long either to avoid wasting sand turns. Meanwhile, Stoutland becomes super fast in sand, and with a Choice Band or Life Orb and a variety of coverage moves, it is super strong as well. That said, these items are required to maintain its raging strength. Ghost-types require some thought to get around if Stoutland is using Choice Band, but Crunch gets the job done if you predict well. Sadly, its main weakness—its kryptonite—is its reliance on sand to be at full potential. As such, it is important to keep Hippopotas alive until Stoutland is ready to sweep.

Rain Offense

Rain is a bit underrated in PU, though there are several decent Pokémon that can utilize it. Rain setters aren't hard to come by, with Volbeat and Meowstic having priority and great support options, and Rotom-F being able to both set and use the rain. Most rain sweepers tend to be physically based, which has a disadvantage of having lower Base Power moves. That being said, Mantine and Golduck (plus a slew of NFEs) are more than capable of washing away the opposing team. Thunder users are also common, as are generic Water-type Pokémon (even without a Speed boost, the Water-type moves' boosted power under rain cannot be ignored); Hurricane users aren't as common, but they also appreciate the accuracy boost; Swanna is a notable Pokémon on rain teams for this reason. The main difficulty of using rain teams is that such teams struggle with breaking through common Water- and Grass-type checks and counters, notably Poliwrath, Lickilicky, and Roselia. By doubling up with rain sweepers, though, rain teams can muscle past these problems with good playing and unleash their torrential terrors.

Dual Screens Hyper Offense

Dual screens hyper offense allows powerful but frail sweepers to set up and run through foes with additional security. PU has access to great dual screens users, including Serperior, Solrock, and Meowstic-M. Common sweepers on dual screens hyper offense teams include Belly Drum Linoone, Shell Smash Huntail, and Swords Dance Sneasel. With the added bulk from dual screens, it is a lot harder to stop these threats. The best way to play these teams is to identify the main threat to the opponent's team and set up with it when behind screens after its counters have been weakened by its teammates.


Stall is quite a potent playstyle in PU. It has quality walls that can take on most of the tier and adapt to several stallbreakers. Stall teams usually go about by slowly wearing down teams, which can be done through status moves and entry hazard stacking while soaking up powerful hits and forcing switches. Lickilicky is one of the most important stall members because of its access to large Wishes, Heal Bell, and an immunity to Taunt thanks to its ability Oblivious. Lickilicky provides a lot of utility by keeping its teammates healthy without losing to Taunt users. PU has several good entry hazard setters and spinblockers as well: Roselia and Garbodor are great defensive Spikers, while Misdreavus and Gourgeist-XL provide reliable spinblocking capabilities. Stall teams usually also carry a Rapid Spin or Defog user to prevent their own Pokémon from being worn down. These include Avalugg and Wartortle for Rapid Spin, and Togetic, Pelipper, Prinplup, and Vullaby for Defog. The rest of the Pokémon on stall generally aim to counter the various threats in PU. For instance, Altaria and Flareon make great counters to Grass- and Fire-types, while Poliwrath and Tangela can reliably stop Shell Smash users.


Naturally, balanced teams are the first ones most beginners choose to build. They combine the offensive power most players enjoy using with a defensive backbone to act as a safety net. That said, it isn't an easy task to create a perfectly balanced team. The defensive core must be able to at least check a large portion of the metagame or provide invaluable support. On the flip side, a balanced team's offensive core must be able to threaten most of the metagame, without opening up irreparable holes in the defensive structure of the team. On the surface, this seems like an easy task, but let's brush away the astroturf and see the dirty job underneath, shall we? A defensive core wants to cram as many different utility and support roles in as possible, while the offensive core wants to fit in a setup sweeper, revenge killer, immediate offensive presence, and occasionally a utility Pokémon with high offensive capabilities (tanks). Unfortunately, these roles that generally are spread out among six Pokémon have to be crammed into half a team at best.

A generic structure for balanced teams usually consists of: a special tank (say Lickilicky) and a physical one (Poliwrath comes to mind), a revenge killer (usually a Choice Scarf or priority user), a setup sweeper (perhaps Carracosta), and a Stealth Rock setter (Piloswine is a great option). Well look at that, 5 teamslots already filled up, and there are still so many things that you might want for your team, and only 1 slot left to fill. Most team members end up doubling up on roles so that you can incorporate all the roles that are needed, but the risk of spreading the individual Pokémon too thin is a common mistake many newer players make. Properly made balanced teams have an answer for almost every situation, so do not think that they are only for new players to test their teeth on.


PU is one of the most fun tiers to play, and regardless of its unofficial status, it is incredibly varied with plenty of playstyles finding prominence and viable use. It is also very balanced; it is rather Spikes-centric at the moment but Garbodor is likely to rise in the next tier shift, reducing this issue. One thing PU definitely needs, though, is a larger playerbase. If you are free and have an interest in the tier, hop on over to #pu on Smogon's IRC server and chat with other PU players in real-time. Participate in the community project threads, such as the viability rankings and the good cores thread. Perhaps enter the upcoming PU Tournament, which will occur eventually in the Tournaments forum. Most importantly though, play the tier on our ladder. It's quite popular already, but there's always room for growth. Give it a try!

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