Hidden Gems in OU

By -Clone-. Art by Bummer.
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It's no secret that the OU metagame constantly revolves around the same Pokémon. OU staples such as Landorus-T, Heatran, Keldeo, Latios, Rotom-W, and Talonflame top the usage statistics every month, and for good reason. These Pokémon have proven their worth time and time again. However, many Pokémon are pushed aside for these tried-and-true veterans, which leaves many Pokémon dwelling in lower tiers. Most are either outclassed by other Pokémon, while others are simply unviable. However, there is some untapped potential from these lower-tier Pokémon. After consulting with many tournament players, a list of underrated Pokémon has been created—the hidden gems of OU.

The Pokémon


It's no secret that Volcarona was a defining force in BW OU. Many thought that this would carry over to Generation VI with the advent of XY. But alas, this was not the case. Volcarona spent the majority of Gen VI in the C ranks of the OU Viability Rankings. The metagame simply was not kind to it with monsters such as Mega Pinsir, Heatran, and Talonflame being everywhere. However, ORAS was released, and Volcarona is once again gaining popularity. Balance teams are a dime a dozen in the metagame, and Volcarona has an exceptional matchup against these types of teams. It is often seen as a late-game cleaner using a Quiver Dance set, which, after a boost or two, is incredibly difficult to stop. Its two favorite teammates, Starmie and Mega Diancie, are incredibly good in their own right, and they support Volcarona by keeping the entry hazards that it hates off its side of the field. When supported correctly, Volcarona is able to set up a Quiver Dance on a good portion of the defensive metagame. After it has accumulated a boost or two, very few Pokémon are capable of stopping it. The best answers to it after it has boosted are Pokémon with priority moves, but even they are inconsistent. Volcarona is known to carry a Passho Berry, which stops all hopes of Azumarill revenge killing it. Mega Pinsir has drastically declined in usage, and Volcarona is often paired with Pokémon that are capable of defeating Talonflame. Heatran, Volcarona's best defensive check not named Chansey, can only use Roar to phase it, and even then, Volcarona has been known to carry Hidden Power Ground. Volcarona is a very scary threat, and every team should have a way to deal with it to avoid being swept by it.


Togekiss is well-known for being that annoying little shit that paraflinches you to death with its Serene Grace Air Slash while you remain paralyzed. However, this was not enough for it to see usage in OU, and it terrorized UU for almost two generations. Come Generation VI, and it received the coveted Fairy typing, which, when combined with its great bulk, gave it the niche of being a good bulky Defogger. Unfortunately, people soon realized that Togekiss wasn't that good in OU, and it dropped once again. However, things changed in ORAS. Togekiss saw a new light as an exceptional balance breaker thanks to its access to Nasty Plot and incredible coverage moves such as Aura Sphere, Fire Blast, and, of course, its infamous Air Slash. The bulkier team archetypes that many players use fall to Togekiss because everything slower gets flinched to death, while the few things that are faster than it often lack a way to handle its great bulk. This is only the case for balance and stall teams, however, because offensive teams have no trouble outspeeding it and applying enough offensive pressure to prevent it from setting up. Regardless, there is an abundance of balance teams out there, and Togekiss strikes fear into every one of them.


Tentacruel was another Pokémon that found itself in OU during Generation V by a comfortable margin. Come Generation VI, Tentacruel quickly fell to UU where it finds its home today. That doesn't mean that it's bad, however—it's far from it. Tentacruel has secured a niche as a Rapid Spinner with a great defensive typing that allows it to beat many entry hazard setters such as Heatran, Ferrothorn, Chesnaught, and Clefable. Its Water / Poison typing also allows it to act as a great counter to Clefable. Its access to Acid Spray, a move that lowers the target's Special Defense by two stages, allows it to beat Calm Mind Clefable every time because Clefable cannot boost fast enough to negate the Special Defense drops. Additionally, Tentacruel has access to Toxic Spikes, a move that's great at wearing down bulky teams, which are in abundance at this time. Tentacruel may be UU by usage, but many top players agree that it is a Pokémon that should not be underestimated.


Introduced in Generation VI, Dragalge was quickly forgotten in OU. Despite being the only non-Uber Dragon-type neutral to Fairy-type moves, Dragalge had few things going for it. It found its home in RU, and it stayed there for the entirety of XY. However, Dragalge's hidden ability, Adaptability, was unreleased. Many players speculated its effectiveness with access to it, but it wasn't until ORAS was released that its ability was finally available. The hype train had finally left the station, and Dragalge quickly found its place on OU teams, nuking Pokémon with Adaptability-boosted Draco Meteors and Sludge Waves. However, the hype died down, and Dragalge started seeing usage for a different role entirely: a Toxic Spiker. People soon realized that Dragalge's good natural bulk and great defensive typing allowed it to act as a sturdy setter of Toxic Spikes. It is no pushover offensively, either, as it is still capable of firing off powerful Adaptability-boosted STAB moves, and they dent any Pokémon that do not resist it, even without any investment in Special Attack. Dragalge has carved a niche in OU, and it is not one to be taken lightly.


Serperior has always been a disappointing Pokémon. It has a shallow movepool, mediocre typing, an awkward distribution of base stats, and a poor ability. Its hidden ability, Contrary, remained unreleased for the longest time. People across the globe begged for it to be released, while Game Freak simply sat back, laughed evilly, and refused to budge. All hope seemed lost, and for years, Serperior rotted at the bottom of the barrel. However, a new light shone on the snake when it was revealed that Contrary Serperior would be released during an ORAS tournament, and the hype started to build up—and rightfully so. Once its hidden ability was released, Serperior shot through the roof in terms of its viability. In a matter of months, it went from PU to being banned in UU. Serperior also took OU by storm, quite literally. It quickly found its place as a great late-game cleaner that used its Contrary Leaf Storm to snowball out of control. Its great Speed tier allows it to outpace a good portion of the metagame, and only Pokémon that resist its moves could hope to stop it after a boost. Its shallow movepool still holds it back, but if a team has nothing to keep it in check, Serperior will breeze through it with ease.


Having been banned to Ubers last generation, many people expected Tornadus-T to be a dominant force in the XY metagame. However, that was simply not the case. It no longer had permanent rain to abuse with 100% accurate Hurricanes, nor were the new Pokémon that were introduced favorable to it. Needless to say, its glory days were over, and Tornadus-T dropped to UU. However, ORAS brought favorable changes to this genie parrot. Greninja was banned, and new Mega Evolutions such as Gallade rose in usage, which are Pokémon that Tornadus-T has a favorable matchup against. Additionally, many of the balance teams that are used have difficulty handling Tornadus-T's great coverage and Speed. Combined with Regenerator and access to U-turn, Tornadus-T has few issues staying alive and often outlasts its checks. Its great Speed, coverage, bulk, and ability make Tornadus-T a threat to every team out there.


Yet another all-star from Gen V, Reuniclus finds its home in RU, where it has been throughout the sixth generation. OU was simply too much for it to handle thanks to the rise in usage of Dark- and Ghost-types, such as Bisharp, Gengar, and Aegislash. It wasn't until late XY that Reuniclus started to see usage in tournaments, and even then it was rarely seen. This trend continued once ORAS was released, and it wasn't until Greninja was banned that Reuniclus started to gain popularity. The reason for this is because balance, the playstyle Reuniclus excels against, took the metagame by storm. Reuniclus is able to set up Calm Mind against many Pokémon, and, thanks to Magic Guard and Recover, Reuniclus cannot be worn down easily. With just Psyshock and Focus Blast as its offensive moves, Reuniclus is able to easily break apart many defensive cores. It does have issues, however. Offense does not generally give it enough opportunities to set up, and it is susceptible to opposing setup sweepers that can break through its bulk, such as SD Gliscor, SD Bisharp, and CM Mega Sableye.


Slowking isn't a bad Pokémon per se, but Slowbro has always been better. The extra Defense it has over Slowking has always been a lot more useful, and because of this, Slowking has found its home in lower tiers. It currently resides in RU, but it does have a very strong niche in the ORAS OU metagame. Its Special Defense stat allows it to handle Pokémon that Slowbro simply can't, such as Latios, Landorus, Mega Gardevoir, and, most importantly, Metagross. This is because Grass Knot cannot break through Slowking, and its typing resists all of Meteor Mash, Zen Headbutt, and Hammer Arm. Furthermore, Slowking is able to fire off a Scald or Thunder Wave in retaliation, which can either cripple Mega Metagross or whatever Pokémon is switched in. Because of this, Slowking has seen a notable increase in usage on balance teams to handle the aforementioned threats.


Hippowdon has been an OU staple ever since its introduction in DPP, but for whatever reason, it has been UU for all of Gen VI. However, Hippowdon is an excellent choice as a bulky Ground-type for many bulkier team builds out there, as its exceptional bulk and good typing allow it to wall a significant portion of the metagame. While it is best known for walling physical attackers, Hippowdon is able to run an EV spread with investment in both Defense and Special Defense that allows it to take on threatening special attackers such as Thundurus and Mega Manectric. Furthermore, Hippowdon is an excellent team supporter with access to great moves such as Stealth Rock, Whirlwind, Toxic, and Slack Off. This ensures that Hippowdon will not only stay healthy throughout the match, but also prevent itself from being setup bait. Lastly, Hippowdon has access to Sand Stream, which, when paired with Sand Rush Excadrill, allows it to support its team by providing the necessary weather support to facilitate an Excadrill sweep. Should Sand Stream be detrimental to your team, Hippowdon has access to Sand Force instead, which removes the negative effects of sand, and while situational at best, allows it to use powerful Earthquakes if it's facing a Tyranitar. No matter how Hippowdon is used, it is sure to pull its weight in every match.


Last on the list, but by no means the least, is Hydreigon. Infamous for having no "true" counters back in Gen V, Hydreigon is one of the most powerful wallbreakers to have ever graced OU. This carried over in Gen VI, and Hydreigon remained OU for a while thanks to its powerful attacks. However, the metagame became much more offensive, and Hydreigon had difficulty taking on the faster paced metagame. It soon fell from grace and found its home in UU, where it remains today. ORAS brought favorable changes for Hydreigon. The metagame became less offensive and balance teams saw a surge in usage. Fortunately for the three-headed beast, it is able to take on these types of teams with ease. Its strong STAB attacks, Dark Pulse and Draco Meteor, have very few safe switch-ins. Additionally, Hydreigon's Speed is just high enough to outspeed every important defensive Pokémon in the game. Furthermore, Hydreigon has good bulk and a good defensive typing, which gives it numerous switch-in opportunities into the weak attacks that balance teams are known to use. Hydreigon's movepool is also vast enough to cover anything it needs to. It has Flash Cannon for Fairy-types, Earth Power, Fire Blast, and Superpower for Steel-types, and it even has U-turn to maintain momentum. All of these traits possessed by Hydreigon give it the valuable niche of being an anti-metagame balance breaker, and every balance team out there needs to be wary of it.

Honorable Mentions

The above Pokémon didn't quite make it onto the list, but that doesn't mean that they should be disregarded. Mega Beedrill, Victini, Empoleon, Klefki, and Tangrowth all have viable niches in OU. Beedrill is a great anti-offense Pokémon thanks to its blazing Speed, amazing damage output, and momentum-grabbing ability with U-turn that lets it wear down its checks and counters throughout the match. Victini is a great nuke when it is equipped with a Choice Band, as V-create is capable of denting even the sturdiest of Pokémon. Empoleon is a great bulky Water-type that can set up Stealth Rock and Defog and check Fairy-types. Klefki is great for annoying offense with its Prankster Thunder Wave, while defensive teams struggle with the Spikes it sets up. Tangrowth is a great pivot when equipped with an Assault Vest, as its great coverage moves that come off of good offensive stats allows it to tank hits with ease while dealing damage itself. Should it find itself in an unfavorable matchup, it can switch out and recover its HP with Regenerator.


These Pokémon are just a few examples of the many lower-tier Pokémon that have useful and viable niches in the OU metagame. The list of Pokémon that have viable niches in OU is too large to cover. There are many out there, and some Pokémon that seem terrible in theory may actually have a viable niche that can earn itself a spot on your team. So experiment! See what innovations you can find out there!

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