NFE Threats in NU

By Can-Eh-Dian and boltsandbombers.
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NU is an incredibly fun and diverse tier that is filled with many different kinds of offensive and defensive Pokémon. While fully evolved Pokémon are usually the top dogs in the NU metagame, with the introduction of Eviolite in Gen V, top tier Not Fully Evolved (or NFE) Pokémon are starting to become more common. Even with the increased usage of Knock Off, these NFE Pokémon have withstood the test of time and have proven themselves to be strong team members in the current NU metagame.


Sneasel @ Choice Band
Ability: Inner Focus
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Knock Off
- Icicle Crash
- Ice Shard
- Pursuit / Low Kick

NU is filled with powerful Psychic- and Ghost-type Pokémon, and Sneasel has risen to the forefront of NU because of it. Sneasel is one of the few Dark-types in NU, and its recent promotion to S Rank on the viability rankings proves that it is not only the best Dark-type, but one of the best Pokémon in the tier. It also has a great secondary Ice typing that allows it to hit the incredibly common Flying- and Grass-types in NU such as Archeops, Scyther, Lilligant, and Vileplume. Sneasel also sports an incredible base 115 Speed, which makes it one of the fastest Pokémon in NU, only being outsped by the likes of Swellow and Zebstrika. It also has a respectable base 95 Attack as well as STAB priority in Ice Shard, making one of the scariest Pokémon for offensive teams to face. Sneasel is not perfect, however, as its defensive stats are very meager. Sneasel has below average 55 / 55 / 75 bulk, and, even though a Dark / Ice type combination is very good offensively, it leaves Sneasel with weaknesses to Stealth Rock, and common priority moves such as Mach Punch and Bullet Punch.

The most common set for Sneasel in the current metagame is its Choice Band set, as it provides more power than the Life Orb set, while also not wearing down Sneasel as quickly. Knock Off and Icicle Crash are Sneasel's most spammable moves, as they both hit incredibly hard while also having very useful secondary effects. Choice Band Ice Shard hits surprisingly hard and can revenge kill huge threats to offensive teams such as Lilligant and Swellow. Pursuit can be used to trap Xatu, allowing more passive entry hazard setters to function throughout the game, while Low Kick can be used to hit bulky Pokémon such as Regirock.


Magneton @ Choice Specs
Ability: Analytic
EVs: 252 SpA / 4 SpD / 252 Spe
Modest Nature
- Flash Cannon
- Volt Switch
- Thunderbolt
- Hidden Power Ground / Hidden Power Grass

After falling from the RarelyUsed tier, Magneton has made its place once again in NU as one of the most fearsome wallbreakers thanks to its excellent dual STAB typing combined with Analytic. Magneton boasts a unique Electric / Steel typing, giving it a plethora of resistances and immunities to common attacking types, allowing it to check threats such as Scyther, Mega Audino, and Vileplume. Apart from Analytic, which is quite useful to give a significant boost in power to Magneton's attacks, Magnet Pull is another excellent ability in Magneton's arsenal to trap Steel-type Pokémon such as Probopass, Mawile, and opposing Magneton to clear the way for its teammates to sweep. However, even top tier Pokémon have their flaws, and Magneton's biggest downfall is its subpar Speed. While it often requires sacrificing a Pokémon, Magneton's base 70 Speed leaves it prone to being revenge killed by faster attackers such as Pyroar, Sawk, and Haunter.

The most common set for Magneton is its Choice Specs + Analytic set for maximum wallbreaking potential. The moves are fairly simple; Volt Switch is used to hit foes hard while keeping up offensive momentum, and Thunderbolt and Flash Cannon are basic STAB moves. The last slot is used to hit Magneton's typical defensive answers. Hidden Power Ground is typically the best choice, as it provides coverage for Lanturn, Stunfisk, Probopass, and opposing Magneton. However, Hidden Power Grass has the utility of dispatching Quagsire while still retaining coverage on Lanturn and Stunfisk. Yet another option in this slot is Hidden Power Fire, which eliminates Ferroseed. Choice Scarf is another viable choice for Magneton, which trades the power given by Choice Specs for the ability to outspeed normally faster Pokémon such as Sneasel, Swellow, and Kabutops.

However, Magneton quickly became too much for the NeverUsed tier and the council decided to suspect it. Here is the reasoning for suspecting Magneton:

Magneton is an insanely powerful Pokémon with three amazing abilities, highlighted by Analytic, which boosts the power of Magneton's moves by 1.3x whenever it moves second or the foe switches out. Only Pokémon dedicated to their Electric- and Steel-type resistances can switch into Magneton comfortably, and only a handful of viable Pokémon can prevent it from using Volt Switch, thus making it even more difficult to stop. With the popularity of its Analytic + Choice Specs set, Magneton has forced most balanced teams to run Lanturn, Stunfisk, or Ferroseed in hopes of beating it, and, while offensive teams can more easily handle the Choice Specs set, they tend to struggle with its Choice Scarf set.


Ability: Gale Wings
EVs: 112 HP / 252 Atk / 144 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Acrobatics
- Swords Dance
- Will-O-Wisp
- Roost

After dropping to NU in the May tier shift, Fletchinder quickly became one of the best revenge killers and late-game cleaners in NU. While Fletchinder may seem mediocre at first due to its middling stats and 4x weakness to Stealth Rock, what makes Fletchinder such a potent offensive Pokémon in the NU metagame is its ability, Gale Wings. Gale Wings allows Fletchinder to have priority on its main offensive STAB move, Acrobatics, as well as priority recovery in Roost. This allows Fletchinder to revenge kill even the fastest offensive threats, such as Lilligant, Jynx, and Scyther, with relative ease. It also has access to a pretty decent support movepool with moves such as Will-O-Wisp, Taunt, and U-turn, as well as access to Swords Dance, which lets it boost its Attack in order to efficiently end games. Fletchinder isn't perfect, however, as it has a 4x weakness to Stealth Rock, which requires you to run entry hazard control on your team. It is also outpaced by other priority users such as Jolly Samurott's Aqua Jet, Kabutops's Aqua Jet, Pinsir's Quick Attack, and Sneasel's Ice Shard. Its mediocre base 73 Attack also means that it isn't very strong until it gets a Swords Dance under its belt.

The most common set for Fletchinder is the set above, which lets it act as a revenge killer and setup sweeper at the same time. Acrobatics can revenge kill weakened threats early-game, and Fletchinder can set up Swords Dance and attempt a sweep late-game. Will-O-Wisp allows Fletchinder to cripple its common switch-ins such as Rhydon and Regirock early-game in order to wear them down late-game. Roost lets Fletchinder stay healthy against more passive teams and allows it to switch into Stealth Rock more than twice. The EVs allow Fletchinder to outspeed Adamant Samurott so that it can hit Samurott before Samurott hits it with Aqua Jet.


Prinplup @ Eviolite
Ability: Torrent
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
Bold Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Defog
- Scald
- Toxic

Early on in XY, Prinplup was often brought up as a joke Pokémon that a player would only use if they were either bored or inexperienced with the tier. However, as the metagame evolved and adapted, players began to realize that Prinplup was one of the most reliable entry hazard removers in the entire tier. Its surprisingly good 64 / 68 / 76 bulk, then boosted by Eviolite, allows it to reliably use Defog against offensive teams and set up its own Stealth Rock. It also has a very good pure Water typing that provides it with a neutrality to Stealth Rock, which many hazard removers in NU lack, while also providing good synergy with Pokémon weak to Stealth Rock, such as Scyther and Fletchinder. The fact that Prinplup can provide both entry hazards and entry hazard removal often makes it a good choice on balanced and offensive teams that can often use the extra team slot to promote better offensive or defensive synergy than they would have had if they had to dedicate two Pokémon to different entry hazards. However, Prinplup still has its weaknesses like all Pokémon do. Prinplup relies on Eviolite in order to maintain its bulk, which means it often becomes dead weight if it gets removed. Its relative passivity also allows it to be setup fodder to offensive Pokémon such as Lilligant and any Substitute user. Prinplup also lacks any form of reliable recovery, which leads it to being worn down fairly quickly by repeated attacks.

The given set is fairly straightforward, as it makes Prinplup as physically bulky as possible to take on powerful physical attackers such as Rhydon and Archeops. It also allows Prinplup to check Swords Dance Samurott by hitting it with Toxic or attempting to burn it with Scald. While both Stealth Rock and Defog on the same set may seem counterproductive, it provides unmatched utility for balanced teams by giving them a free team slot.


Haunter @ Life Orb
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Taunt
- Sludge Bomb
- Shadow Ball
- Destiny Bond / Will-O-Wisp

Throughout XY, Haunter was often disregarded as an inferior Mismagius due to Mismagius's higher Speed and access to boosting moves such as Nasty Plot and Calm Mind, which allowed it to beat defensive play styles much easier. However, with the release of ORAS, Mega Audino, which beats Mismagius quite easily, quickly became one of the most common Pokémon on defensive teams. This led to Haunter gaining a niche as one of the premier stallbreakers in the tier, thanks to its access to moves such as Taunt and Will-O-Wisp. Its secondary Poison typing, combined with Taunt, allow it to break through Mega Audino fairly easily, while also shutting down Garbodor, an extremely common Pokémon on stall and balance builds. Haunter also sports a great base 115 Special Attack, which means that, when combined with Life Orb, more passive builds often don't have a solid answer to it. While base 95 Speed is no longer as impressive as it once was, it is still fast enough to outspeed offensive Pokémon such as Lilligant and Zangoose. It can even slap on a Choice Scarf in order to become an effective revenge killer against offensive teams. However, Haunter is incredibly frail, which means that priority hits it incredibly hard. It is also outsped by common offensive Pokémon such as Archeops, Sneasel, and Tauros, which means that it often doesn't do very well against offensive builds.

The set above maximizes Haunter's stallbreaking abilities by utilizing Taunt alongside incredibly powerful Life Orb boosted attacks. Taunt shuts down most defensive Pokémon, leaving them unable to recover from Haunter's attacks. The last slot is incredibly customizable, as it can run Will-O-Wisp in order to cripple slower physical threats, or Destiny Bond to make offensive teams think twice before KOing it.


Gurdurr @ Eviolite
Ability: Guts
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def
Adamant Nature
- Drain Punch
- Mach Punch
- Knock Off
- Bulk Up

Gurdurr's respectable bulk with Eviolite coupled with a decent defensive typing allow it to function as a tank and check a variety of common physical attackers in NU. Its typing gives it important resistances to Dark- and Rock-type attacks from the likes of Sneasel, Pawniard, and Rhydon. Gurdurr is also a fantastic answer to the plethora of Normal-types in the tier, such as Zangoose, Kangaskhan, and Tauros, as Gurdurr can shrug off their hits and recover its health back with Drain Punch. Access to a priority move in Mach Punch is another key trait, allowing Gurdurr to pick off faster Pokémon and some setup sweepers. Gurdurr separates itself from the other two main Fighting-types in the tier with its access to STAB priority and its ability to hold Eviolite and subsequently get greater bulk.

Unfortunately, Gurdurr has a difficult time combating the plethora of Psychic-, Poison-, and Fairy-types in the tier, as well as special attackers, which can exploit Gurdurr's low Special Defense stat. In addition, most Psychic-types are bulky enough to take a Knock Off and threaten Gurdurr back with a STAB move or recover off damage taken.

The given set is fairly simple and standard in the NU metagame. Drain Punch is a decently powerful STAB move that has the added benefit of recovering Gurdurr's HP. Mach Punch is important to pick off faster threats and mitigate Gurdurr's subpar Speed. Knock Off provides excellent utility and coverage alongside Gurdurr's STAB moves, targeting Psychic- and Ghost-types such as Mesprit, Musharna, Rotom, and Mismagius. Bulk Up increases Gurdurr's Attack and Defense, but a coverage move such as Stone Edge or Ice Punch is also a viable choice in this slot.


Scyther @ Eviolite
Ability: Technician
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Swords Dance
- Roost
- Aerial Ace
- U-turn / Bug Bite

Scyther has excellent offensive capabilities in NU thanks to the variety of roles on a team that it fulfills. With the use of Swords Dance and Roost, Scyther utilizes its respectable bulk and decent defensive typing to find many opportunities to setup. The typical Swords Dance set can fulfill two roles on a team because U-turn is typically the preferred move in the last slot, allowing Scyther to keep up offensive momentum and act as a win condition. At first glance, U-turn may seem counterproductive with a boosting move, but U-turn's value is how it allows Scyther to chip away at its checks early game before setting up, and it also allows Scyther to pivot into a teammate to handle its checks. Scyther also sports a solid Speed tier, Speed tying with Mismagius and Cryogonal while outpacing every Pokémon below base 105 Speed, most notably the crowded base 95 Speed tier. In addition to the typical Swords Dance set, Scyther can also make use of a Choice Band or Choice Scarf set. The Choice Band set capitalizes on Scyther's ability to grab momentum with high powered moves thanks to Technician. Trading power and bulk for Speed, the Choice Scarf set outspeeds the entire unboosted metagame as well as a plethora of boosted threats, most notably Ludicolo in the rain and Lilligant after a Quiver Dance. Another important quality that Scyther brings to a team is its ability to tackle on common Fighting-, Grass-, and Psychic-types such as Hariyama, Cacturne, and Malamar. Unfortunately, the tier is filled with common Pokémon resistant to Flying-type moves such as Rhydon, Stunfisk, and Klinklang. The reintroduction of Fletchinder to the NU tier is also a major nuisance for Scyther, as Fletchinder can revenge kill Scyther with its priority Acrobatics given some prior damage.


Rhydon @ Eviolite
Ability: Lightning Rod
EVs: 252 HP / 16 Atk / 240 SpD
Adamant Nature
- Rock Blast
- Earthquake
- Stealth Rock
- Megahorn

With a plethora of Normal-, Fire-, and Flying-types in the tier, Rhydon's Rock typing allows it to combat important threats such as Kangaskhan, Fletchinder, and Pyroar. With impressive bulk given by its Eviolite, Rhydon has the capability to invest in its offensive stats to tank hits and hit hard in return. Moreover, Rhydon makes for an excellent Stealth Rock setter thanks to its ability to threaten common Defoggers and Rapid Spinners with its STAB moves, as well as deterring Xatu from switching in consistently. This trait is very important in NU, as Xatu is a very common entry hazard deterrent used on many teams. Apart from having an excellent defensive typing, Rhydon's dual STAB moves have near perfect coverage in the tier, which is supplemented by its access to Megahorn. Previously in XY, Rhydon typically used Roar to phaze Slurpuff as well as other boosting threats in the tier, but with the transition to ORAS, Megahorn is much more preferred in this moveslot to deal heavy damage to bulky Psychic-types such as Malamar, Exeggutor, and Musharna. Rhydon also has access to boosting moves in Swords Dance and Rock Polish, allowing it to play a much more aggressive and offensive role.

While Rhydon's typing has many benefits offensively and defensively, it leaves Rhydon with 4x weaknesses to Water- and Grass-type attacks, which are both quite prevalent in NU. Furthermore, the teamslot for a bulky Rock-type is slowly being favored towards Regirock, mainly for the fact that, unlike Rhydon, it is not 4x weak to any given type. However, Rhydon's greater offensive presence and access to Megahorn set it apart from Regirock.

Honorable Mentions

These Pokémon didn't make it onto the list, but that doesn't mean they should be forgotten. Togetic is a superb Fighting-type check and Defogger thanks to its access to reliable recovery and unique defensive typing. Ferroseed also sports a very unique typing and is an effective entry hazard setter with access to both Stealth Rock and Spikes. Albeit facing competition from Vileplume as a bulky Grass-type, Tangela holds a niche thanks to Regenerator and the capability to utilize an offensive set more effectively. Pawniard is one of the two relevant Defiant users in NU, deterring the use of Defog as well as being a solid late-game sweeper with Swords Dance and Sucker Punch.

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