OU: Clearing Up Some Facts With Defog

By Valmanway. Art by Andrew.
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Entry hazards have been a thing ever since GSC, and the metagame has slowly molded around them as time passed. First came Spikes, which was an interesting and unique concept at the time, which dealt damage to the foe upon switching in. The damage dealt could be increased by doing what's known as "hazard stacking", so up to 1/4 of the switch-in's health would be chipped off, provided it wasn't a Flying-type. This made for an excellent weapon to be used against stall teams, since Rest was the best form of recovery for several Pokémon. However, Game Freak felt that a means of defending against Spikes was needed, and thus created Rapid Spin, which had the sole purpose of removing Spikes from the field. As a result, having a Rapid Spin user was almost mandatory, as it was the only way to save your team from taking unnecessary damage, and stopped your opponent from setting them up freely. Then came two new hazards with the dawn of DPP, with Toxic Spikes having a lasting effect after the target switches in on them by inflicting it with poison with one layer and toxic poison with two layers, and Stealth Rock quite literally shaping the metagame that we know today with its unique property of dealing damage based on a Pokémon's type alignment with Rock-type moves. Defog was introduced at the same time as Stealth Rock, but didn't affect hazards at the time, so it was regarded as a gimmicky move and nothing more. BW came around and had a few mechanic changes, one of them being Defog removing the opponent's screens and such, but while it gained the power to remove hazards, it only removed the hazards that you set down; it was counter-productive, to say the least. However, XY fixed Defog so it affected both sides of the field, thus making what was once a mediocre move that was not worth using into a move that's commonly seen these days. Defog has become what's considered by some as one of the best, or at least one of the most popular, moves to date in the XY OU metagame, and this article will explain why Defog has reached this status.

Defog's Additional Uses

Defog's primary use on a team is short and simple: clear the field of hazards. While this is its primary use, it also has a convenient bonus effect of removing Light Screen and Reflect, so Defog is a great way to ruin suicide screen leads. The evasion drop that it inflicts onto foes can also be convenient for a teammate to take advantage of. For example, Keldeo's Hydro Pump packs a nasty punch, but the shaky accuracy makes it dangerous to use at times. With Defog, you not only remove hazards and screens, but you also lower the foe's evasion by one stage, meaning if Keldeo can switch in, it can land its Hydro Pump, guaranteed! This scenario also applies to some other moves, such as Stone Edge, Will-O-Wisp, Sleep Powder, and Fire Blast, and while moves like Focus Blast and Hurricane still have a chance to miss, their accuracy becomes much less shaky. If the opponent realizes this, then they'll likely switch their Pokémon out, meaning Defog is actually capable of forcing switches at times, though this is exceedingly situational, so don't count on it too much.

Notable Users of Defog


Typing: Dragon / Psychic
Stats: 80 / 80 / 90 / 110 / 130 / 110

Latias is one of the most reliable defensive Defoggers in the game, thanks to several traits. First and foremost, Latias is tied with her brother, Latios, as the fastest Defogger in OU, meaning she's much more likely to clear the field of hazards than Mandibuzz or Zapdos by virtue of outrunning her foe. Second, Latias is a surprisingly powerful special attacker outside of her role as a Defogger, as she has powerful STAB attacks in Draco Meteor and Psyshock backed by a base 110 Special Attack. Finally, she has an amazing support move in Healing Wish, granting a crippled teammate a second chance to wreak havoc on the opponent's team.

Latias @ Life Orb
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 72 HP / 184 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Defog
- Draco Meteor
- Hidden Power Fire / Psyshock / Thunderbolt
- Healing Wish / Roost

With this set, Latias works as an excellent supporter. Draco Meteor is a great way to deal sizable damage in a pinch, and she won't mind the Special Attack drop too much, as her main role is Defog support, anyway. Her secondary attack really depends on what your team needs to take on. Hidden Power Fire threatens Ferrothorn and Mega Scizor, Psyshock threatens Mega Venusaur, and Thunderbolt threatens Azumarill and Skarmory. The last move is also a toss-up, as Healing Wish patches up a crippled teammate and provides it with a free switch, while Roost lets Latias stay alive longer and continue her Defogging duties. 72 HP EVs allow Latias to avoid a 2HKO from Hidden Power Ice from Thundurus, 252 Speed EVs ensure that she Speed ties with fellow Pokémon that have base 110 Speed (unless she runs Hidden Power Fire), and the rest of the EVs are put into Special Attack to maximize her damage output.


Typing: Dragon / Psychic
Stats: 80 / 90 / 80 / 130 / 110 / 110

Much like his sister Latias, Latios is one of the most reliable users of Defog in OU, but for a different reason. Latios is a more offensively oriented Pokémon compared to Latias, making him a powerful offensive user of Defog, so the way he fits onto teams can be slightly different from Latias. Latios doesn't need as much offensive support as Latias, but does need more defensive support. Furthermore, Latias has Healing Wish, which Latios doesn't, so Latios is usually a sweeper, and rarely dabbles in supportive roles. However, the sheer damage output that his offensive sets can deal to everything makes approaching him a challenge, and is something that Latias is incapable of replicating to the extent that her brother can.

Latios @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Defog
- Draco Meteor
- Psyshock
- Hidden Power Fire / Thunderbolt / Surf

Where Latias is designed to be a more defensive user of Defog, Latios is designed to clear hazards and dish out damage. Draco Meteor is useful for revenge killing and breaking through some sturdier foes, Psyshock is used for dealing with special walls, and the third move is really up to personal preference; Hidden Power Fire is for Ferrothorn and Scizor, Thunderbolt is for Azumarill and Skarmory, and Surf is for Heatran. What sets Latios apart from most other Defoggers is that he can easily threaten a large variety of hazard setters either through power or coverage, so Latios can prevent the foe from setting up hazards for free, as he can either greatly damage it if it attacks or clear the hazards if the foe switches out. 252 EVs in Special Attack and Speed bring out the best in his sweeping capabilities, while the remaining EVs are insignificant in this case, and are simply added into HP.


Typing: Dark / Flying
Stats: 95 / 65 / 105 / 55 / 95 / 80

Mandibuzz was the most popular user of Defog at the start of the generation, not only because she was one of the few Pokémon that actually learned it before Pokébank came out, but also because she was one of the few counters to Aegislash. Sadly, Mandibuzz lost a lot of her uniqueness after Pokebank's release, and lost even more of it after Aegislash's ban, but she still has enough to stand out in the current metagame. Her Dark / Flying typing grants handy resistances to Dark- and Ghost-type moves, as well as Ground and Psychic immunities; combine that with her very solid 95 / 110 / 95 defenses, and she can take on the likes of Landorus, Talonflame, Bisharp, Garchomp, and Mega Alakazam. She's also one of the few Pokémon that don't care about Spore thanks to Overcoat, giving her team some solid support for handling Breloom.

Mandibuzz @ Leftovers
Ability: Overcoat
EVs: 248 HP / 136 Def / 108 SpD / 16 Spe
Bold Nature
- Defog
- Foul Play
- Roost
- Taunt

Mandibuzz is designed with utility in mind, with Defog being the biggest selling point. With Foul Play, Mandibuzz can hit back fairly hard, especially against physical attackers such as Excadrill, Landorus-T, Garchomp, and Mega Scizor, and can punish those that try to buff their Attack, such as Mega Charizard X, Excadrill, Mega Pinsir, and Gyarados. Roost provides excellent recovery for Mandibuzz, and makes up for her Stealth Rock weakness to an extent. Taunt is used to prevent Pokémon from buffing their stats, healing off damage, inflicting status, and setting up hazards, making it difficult for stall teams to break through her. Alternatively, Knock Off is a valued move for removing items, such as Leftovers, Life Orb, Choice Band, and Eviolite, making it more difficult for the likes of Landorus, Excadrill, Talonflame, Diggersby, and Chansey to fulfill their jobs. 248 HP EVs are to reduce the damage taken from Stealth Rock, 108 Special Defense EVs ensure that Mandibuzz avoids the 2HKO from Landorus' Focus Blast, 16 Speed EVs means that Mandibuzz can outrun any Azumarill except those with a Jolly nature and run max Speed EVs, while the rest are poured into Defense so she takes physical attacks better.


Typing: Psychic
Stats: 100 / 100 / 100 / 100 / 100 / 100

It's no surprise that Mew is a Defogger, considering that it learns every teachable move in the game. As such, it's to be expected out of Mew to have great options to use in battle, such as Will-O-Wisp, Taunt, and Knock Off, which is a combination that no other Defogger can run. Mew's pure Psychic typing also provides it with useful resistances to Fighting- and Psychic-type moves, which makes it one of the few counters to Mega Medicham, which is a rather impressive feat on its own. Other big threats that Mew can check are Azumarill, Landorus, offensive Mega Gyarados, Dragonite, and Garchomp.

Mew @ Leftovers
Ability: Synchronize
EVs: 252 HP / 104 Def / 152 Spe
Impish Nature
- Defog
- Soft-Boiled
- Will-O-Wisp
- Knock Off

With a great balance of Speed and overall bulk, as well as one of the widest utility movepools in the game, Mew obviously has a lot going for it as a Defogger. Soft-Boiled provides reliable recovery that helps remove Stealth Rock damage, as well as possibly allowing for some walling potential. Will-O-Wisp is a great tool to not only wear foes down, but to also weaken physical attackers so that Mew can wall them more easily. Knock Off is there to remove a foe's item, such as Life Orb, Leftovers, Choice Scarf, and Eviolite, and keeps Mew from being complete Taunt bait. 152 Speed EVs allow Mew to outrun any Mega Heracross unless it has yet to Mega Evolve and is running a Jolly nature, and the rest of the EVs are poured into Defense and HP to maximize its defensive presence.

Mega Scizor

Typing: Bug / Steel
Stats: 70 / 150 / 140 / 65 / 100 / 75

Scizor is a Pokémon that generally prefers offensive sets, but can actually utilize a Defog set fairly well, thanks to several reasons. First, Mega Scizor's defensive presence is pretty good thanks to its great Bug / Steel typing granting it a Toxic immunity and a Stealth Rock neutrality, respectable 70 / 140 / 100 defenses, and reliable recovery in Roost. Second, Mega Scizor is a Defogger that can hit back hard thanks to Technician and a massive base 150 Attack, so it can hit back when necessary. Also, Mega Scizor has advantageous matchups against several hazard setters in OU, including Landorus-T, Terrakion, and Mamoswine, so it can force them out as it uses Defog, or can take them out if they wish to stay in thanks to its power and bulk.

Scizor @ Scizorite
Ability: Light Metal
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Atk / 252 Def
Impish Nature
- Defog
- Roost
- Bullet Punch
- Knock Off / Superpower / U-turn

Mega Scizor is one of the bulkiest Defoggers in the game, and this set takes advantage of that bulk perfectly. Roost provides Mega Scizor with reliable recovery, both for healing off hazard entry damage and for stalling out attackers. Bullet Punch lets Mega Scizor get a quick hit in before biting the dust, and also gives him a little offensive presence. The last move is really up to preference; Knock Off is the preferred move due to the utility it brings, Superpower is for Steel-types that think they can get a free switch, such as Heatran and Ferrothorn, and U-turn is to ease prediction when switching out, and chipping off a little health from the foe along the way is a nice bonus. 248 HP EVs are there so you lose less health from Stealth Rock, Defense is maximized to take physical attacks as well as possible, and the rest are added to Attack to minutely increase damage output.


Typing: Steel / Flying
Stats: 65 / 80 / 140 / 40 / 70 / 70

Skarmory is a Defogger that has two jobs, but has a hard time maintaining both of them. Skarmory is mainly a hazard setter and will usually be what you expect out of it, but its second role is being a Defogger, which removes hazards from both sides of the field; it's rather ironic, to say the least. Furthermore, Skarmory faces competition with Mega Scizor as a Defogger, as Skarmory has less Attack, an extra weakness to Electric-type moves, and has less overall defenses. However, Skarmory does have a few bragging rights over Mega Scizor, namely the ability to hold items such as Leftovers and Rocky Helmet, an immunity to Ground-type moves, and Whirlwind to threaten setup sweepers and rack up hazard damage.

Skarmory @ Leftovers
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Impish Nature
- Defog
- Roost
- Whirlwind
- Brave Bird / Stealth Rock

Skarmory is a Defogger that's designed to be both a physical wall and a team shuffler. Roost is the bread and butter for any Skarmory, as the longevity it provides is invaluable. Whirlwind is a very effective tool to use, as it can effectively counter setup sweepers, even those behind a Substitute, can force a counter out, and can shuffle the opponent's team so the foes keep racking up hazard damage. The last move is up to preference. Brave Bird is preferred so you aren't complete Taunt bait, while Stealth Rock can be used to take advantage of Whirlwind and damage foes as you shuffle the opponent's team. 252 HP and Defense EVs bring out the absolute best in Skarmory's physical walling capabilities, while the remaining EVs go into Special Defense.


Typing: Electric / Flying
Stats: 90 / 90 / 85 / 125 / 90 / 100

Zapdos is one of those Pokémon that has been OU for almost every generation it's been in, which is a testament to its presence in the tier. Zapdos is a Defogger that has great stats all around, a good defensive typing that's shared only with Thundurus (as well as Emolga and Rotom-Fan, but nobody uses those...), and a fairly wide movepool that contains both offensive and support options, such as U-turn, Heat Wave, Thunder Wave, Tailwind, and Light Screen. Thanks to all of these, Zapdos is capable of threatening bird-spam, Landorus, Mega Scizor, and Gyarados, as well as some defensive Pokémon, such as Ferrothorn, Rotom-W, Slowbro, and Skarmory. As a little bonus, Zapdos can utilize Pressure to PP stall, meaning it has to take less hits, which can help in certain situations.

Zapdos @ Leftovers
Ability: Pressure
EVs: 252 HP / 168 Def / 88 SpA
Bold Nature
- Defog
- Thunderbolt
- Roost
- Heat Wave / Toxic / U-turn

Zapdos takes advantage of its all-around good stats by utilizing a specific EV spread. 252 HP EVs are simple enough, 88 Special Attack EVs ensure that Thunderbolt OHKOes Mega Pinsir, and the rest of the EVs go into Defense to take physical hits better. Thunderbolt is used not only to avoid being Taunt bait, but also to hit back hard. Roost provides invaluable longevity, as its ability to take on some of the above mentioned threats is very important, and you want Zapdos to take on as many of them as possible. The final move is up to preference; Heat Wave takes out Ferrothorn and Mega Scizor, Toxic wears down sweepers and opposing walls, and U-turn provides some scouting prowess, both to scout for an opponent's set and to see if they decide to switch out.

Defog or Rapid Spin?

When there are two methods to getting rid of hazards, one can't help but wonder which approach is better. The thing is, one isn't necessarily better than the other, as they both have their advantages, so there are many things to factor in when deciding which method best suits your team's madness.

For Defog, there are a few reasons to use it over Rapid Spin. Mainly, there are many more OU viable Pokémon that can learn Defog than there are that can learn Rapid Spin, so it's easier to find the right Defogger for your team than it is to find the right Rapid Spinner, thus providing more flexibility for team building. Sadly, most of its other uses over Rapid Spin either aren't that big of a deal in the current metagame or have already been brought up in this article. Defog can't be blocked by Ghost-types, which was one of the biggest eye-catchers before XY fully developed, but the only Ghost-type that you usually see these days is Gengar, and the rest are very rarely seen; even though Gengar is fairly common, it isn't as big of an advantage as one would first think.

Rapid Spin may be distributed to very few Pokémon, but there are two benefits to using it over Defog. First and foremost, Rapid Spin doesn't remove the hazards that you laid down, so you can preserve your team's hazards and keep the pressure on your opponent by removing your opponent's hazards. Second, while not a commonly seen issue, Rapid Spin can't be stopped by Taunt, so you can simply use Rapid Spin without a hitch instead of trying to play around your opponent's Taunt user when trying to use Defog.

Essentially, the difference between Defog and Rapid Spin is that the former has more Pokémon that learn it, thus making it more team-friendly, while the latter has a better payoff when used. So it's hard to say that one is exactly better than the other, since they both have their advantages over the other.


Entry hazards are an important element in pretty much every metagame you'll find, but you'll find that Defog is an equally important element. Much like Stealth Rock, Defog has, in a way, shaped the OU metagame that we know and play in, and it seems like things are going to stay that way for quite some time now.

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