Modern Superstars in ADV

By BKC. Art by Sephirona.
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Recently, some ADV aficionado friends of mine and I were discussing how some of the current top-tier Pokémon would perform in the tier, similar to some past Smog articles that Crystal_ wrote.


Garchomp @ Leftovers
Trait: Sand Veil
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Earthquake
- Rock Slide
- Hidden Power Bug

Everyone's favorite land shark appearing in ADV would single-handedly make Flygon disappear; the only thing Garchomp doesn't have over the dragonfly is a Spikes / Earthquake immunity, which is admittedly nice, but everything else is so overwhelmingly superior that it'd hardly be noticed. Garchomp doesn't quite reach the Attack stats of physical OU powerhouses such as Salamence, Metagross, and Tyranitar, sitting at "only" base 130, but it more than makes up for this shortcoming with Swords Dance and an amazing Speed tier while retaining what makes Flygon great—STAB Earthquake. If Salamence, with its comparatively worse special bulk, can be EVed to survive Ice Beams from bulky Water-types while hitting with +1 STAB Hidden Power Flying, just imagine what Garchomp can do to them. To top it off, its bulk is simply astounding by ADV standards; Flygon can counter or check some of the tier's most dangerous Pokémon with 80/80/80 defenses, and Garchomp has 108/95/85—that's more physically bulky than Swampert, the second most popular physical wall after Skarmory.

Then there's the matter of its base 102 Speed. The base 100 benchmark is pretty important; the rise of Calm Mind-spamming teams with offensive Celebi and Jirachi led Flygon, and even some Zapdos and Choice Band Salamence, to run max Speed more and more, but Garchomp trolls them all and runs right through them, acting as an amazing check to Calm Mind teams without being Dugtrio-weak. It, like Flygon, partners with Swampert to hold off Electric-types depending on their choice of Hidden Power, and even weakened offensive Suicune can be picked off by Garchomp's 358 Attack STAB Earthquake.

Skarmory is the only real thing that can safely hold this set off—because of this, Fire Blast might seem tempting, but Garchomp shares Flygon's rather mediocre Special Attack stat, so it's better off not wasting a moveslot on a Pokémon that's easily dispatched by Magneton anyway. Gengar is a decent check; however, it doesn't love taking Rock Slides, especially since its only method of healing, Leftovers, is canceled by the omnipresent sandstorm brought by Garchomp's best partner, Tyranitar, which can also Pursuit Gengar back to life. Speaking of Sand Veil, a lack of Levitate means that, unlike with Flygon, Porygon2 can't safely counter Garchomp just by switching in, although it's much more likely to dodge everything aimed at it once it has Traced Garchomp's ability.

Garchomp isn't just restricted to a Swords Dance set, although that's certainly its best function; it can give up Swords Dance for Fire Blast to be a pure wallbreaker, it can carry a Choice Band for immediate damage (most notably helpful against fast-paced Calm Mind teams), or it can even go with a defensive set, making use of that impressive physical bulk. It's more than likely Chomper would be sent to Ubers pretty quickly.


Hippowdon @ Leftovers
Trait: Sand Stream
EVs: 248 HP / 232 Def / 28 SDef OR 248 HP / 32 Def / 228 SDef OR 248 HP / 248 HP / 20 Def / 240 SDef (Careful)
Impish Nature
- Earthquake
- Rock Slide
- Roar / Toxic / Curse
- Slack Off

Swampert is a pretty splashable Pokémon in ADV; it's one of the finest pivots any metagame has ever seen, with its auspicious typing, fine bulk, and ability to do damage back to the opposition. Take Swampert and remove its Water typing (and thus its access to Ice Beam and Surf or Hydro Pump), then drop its base Special Defense from 90 to 72. Improve its base HP from 100 to 108 and its base Defense from 90 to a stunning 118, while also amping its Attack up from 110 to 112, and perhaps most importantly give it Slack Off; now, you have Hippowdon, which reaches near-GSC Celebi levels of being able to just wall everything.

First, let's take a look at what Hippowdon loses out on that Swampert has—its part-Water typing. This gives Pert a neutrality to Ice and Water as well as a resistance to Fire and Steel (the latter may not seem relevant at first until you remember that Metagross, one of the most important Pokémon that Swampert checks, packs a STAB Meteor Mash that's up there as one of the most terrifying attacks in the tier.) These are all important; now, Hidden Power Ice from Electric-types hits Hippowdon super effectively and Tyranitar's Ice Beam (admittedly rare, but it sees some use on mixed and Dragon Dance sets to smash Flygon while also hitting Claydol) does a chunk as well. Metagross' STAB attack also hits Hippowdon neutrally. However, Slack Off will keep it healthy. Again, I can't understate the importance of Hippowdon's increased bulk—Choice Band Metagross's Meteor Mash can't even 2HKO fully physical variants, while mixed or specially defensive sets laugh at super effective Hidden Powers. On the subject of super effective Hidden Powers, let's not forget that Swampert's Water typing gives it a quadruple weakness to Grass; Hippowdon doesn't have that.

Now, let's look at what Hippowdon gains that Swampert dreams it could have. Its incredibly high HP means that it's not exactly crumpling to the aforementioned hits, depending on its spread (which it can tailor to suit the needs of its team). There's also Slack Off, which is so good I can't even begin to describe it; Swampert, which relies on Protect or Rest for recovery, is crying in a corner somewhere. Gone are the days when a few Double-Edges from Aerodactyl mean the end of your bulky Ground-type's day. Swampert wasn't beating most Fire-types anyway, as they have a habit of carrying HP Grass for it, so Hippowdon's not resisting Fire is hardly a loss. The only thing a Hippo team might not like about it is the sand it brings, which cancels a lot of Leftovers, but Tyranitar is already so prominent (and Hippowdon would be as well) that it probably wouldn't be a big deal.

Hippowdon could also run a Choice Band set with HP Bug as the slashed third move, making use of that impressive Attack stat as well as healing itself on off turns, but most of the time, it'd be seen walling all in sight. Hippowdon would most likely be in Ubers (where it would also be quite good!)


Volcarona @ Leftovers / Lum Berry
Trait: Flame Body
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
Timid / Modest Nature
- Flamethrower / Fire Blast
- Calm Mind
- Giga Drain
- Will-O-Wisp

When it comes to dangerous Calm Mind users in ADV, Entei isn't the first thing you think of, but it is still a usable Pokémon. However, Volcarona would restore glory to ADV Fire-types; while it lacks special Bug STAB and its signature Quiver Dance, there's also no Stealth Rock, and it still has Calm Mind backed by base 100 Speed. Finally, bulky Celebi and Jirachi will face something that truly terrifies them; they are able to go toe-to-toe with almost anything, but not Volcarona, whose unresisted coverage and immense power would make it a top-tier threat. Immunity Snorlax is the standard because laughing at Toxic attempts is much more useful than the resistances to the relatively rare (and pretty easily tanked regardless) Fire- and Ice-type attacks; Regice's Ice Beam isn't powerful enough to scare it, but Volcarona's boosted Fire moves would definitely make Thick Fat Snorlax usage shoot up. However, a Will-O-Wisp destroys Snorlax, and this burn threat would probably push Volcarona over the edge, especially since Body Slamming it can trigger Flame Body; in addition to Snorlax, Tyranitar, Aerodactyl, Salamence, Flygon, and Gyarados would also be fine checks if not for Will-O-Wisp (which could also lend itself to a bulky set with Morning Sun.) While Volcarona is vulnerable to a Dugtrio revenge kill (it'd be the only Pokémon trapped by Dugtrio that would actually need to be Rock Slided, since a super effective Rock Slide hits just as hard as a STAB Earthquake), but Dugtrio sure as hell can't switch in, and it can (and should be) baited and dealt with otherwise, such as by locking it into HP Bug or Aerial Ace for Celebi and Heracross respectively, then revenging with your own Dugtrio, or simply by carrying a Porygon2. Hell, Volcarona could be used as this bait, as it forces Rock Slide if healthy enough (and can be EVed to have a good chance to survive Earthquake). A SubCM set with Salac Berry could be used to defeat not only Dugtrio but also other speedier would-be revenge killers, such as Starmie, Raikou, Jolteon, Explosion Gengar, and most notably Aerodactyl.

What makes Volcarona unique is not just Will-O-Wisp, but, should it choose to run HP Ice, its Fire/Grass/Ice coverage, which means it is able to simultaneously hit Water-types and Dragons while keeping the dangerous Fire STAB that makes so many prominent ADV Pokémon, such as Metagross and Skarmory, tremble. Its Special Attack stat, equaling Salamence's Attack, only helps in this regard; Moltres's Fire Blast is dangerous and might outpower Volcarona's since it can afford to run Modest whereas Volcarona would usually be Timid, but Volcarona's higher Speed and access to Calm Mind would make Moltres almost forgotten. At least Charizard would be able to Focus Punch Blissey and Tyranitar.

Of course, Volcarona isn't unbeatable; Blissey is obviously a major thorn in its side, as it is for every special sweeper, but it's also one of the easiest to lure with a special attacker, which can use Explosion or Focus Punch on it and switch to Dugtrio, which also enjoys Volcarona's burn support for the extra damage. Volcarona would most likely be an Uber.

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