Introduction to ADV NU

By Disaster Area and Oglemi. Art by Bummer.
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Welcome to the ADV NU metagame! Despite having existed since ADV was the newest generation, ADV NU is still somewhat unexplored but nevertheless very exciting. A bit of history: ADV NU was played a bit on Smogon and Pokémon Stadium way back when, but was never pursued or seen as an official tier of any kind. It was later picked up by Project NU where they decided to unban NFEs, which were banned on the sites prior, but the metagame wasn't developed very much. Pokémon Online later picked up the tier again and ended up banning the NFEs again due to the perceived overpowerdness of a few of the Pokémon. Finally, a year and a half ago Administrator Oglemi decided to revive the tier once again by hosting a couple tournies, and developed the tier a bit further by allowing NFEs once again and introducing a few Pokémon that were previously UU but thought wouldn't make too big of a splash in NU.

Currently, the tier is primarily focused on hyper offense and balance, with stall getting relatively little of the limelight outside of a particular teamstyle centered around Sableye. Here, we shall guide you through the cornerstones of the tier, including the strategies and the Pokémon that it entails.

Important Strategies

Spikes are an important part of the tier. There are three common users of the move: Glalie, Roselia, and Cacturne. Glalie tends to play as a lead, as it beats the other Spikers but has trouble coming in during the match, so the lead metagame focuses around using or defeating Glalie.

Choice Band is a common item, and probably the most used after Leftovers, giving physical attackers such as Hitmonchan and Pidgeot dominating levels of power in the tier. Another common strategy is manual weather. Tangela, Huntail, Bellossom, and occasionally other Pokémon such as Plusle and Relicanth, can be seen using weather-setting moves to boost both their Speed and the power of their moves. Plusle also enjoys fully accurate Thunders, making it very dangerous, as well as being able to Baton Pass into Huntail to let it use the rain, whilst Relicanth can function as a mixed or physical cleaner once Huntail has been in.

Baton Pass is a very important move in the metagame, and although full chains are never seen, quite a handful of key Pokémon still make use of the move. Mawile has access to a fairly wide variety of physical moves, as well as Swords Dance and the rarely seen Iron Defense, which allow it to pass boosts to teammates or stay in and fight. It is very interesting to play a metagame where one of the most important defensive pivots is a Steel-type with Intimidate and Baton Pass, and playing with and against such a versatile Pokémon is part of what makes the metagame fun. Plusle and Minun also have access to Baton Pass, and although they lack boosting moves other than the rarely-seen Agility, they can use Wish, Encore, Light Screen, and Rain Dance, or they can just steal momentum with Baton Pass, as they force switches versus a fair amount of Pokémon in the metagame. Venomoth, as well as a host of other Bug-types that are rarely seen such as Illumise, Ledian, Volbeat, Ariados, and Beedrill, can make use of Baton Pass and various support options, coming in easily on Choice Band Hitmonchan locked into Sky Uppercut.

Other strategies, such as Endure or Substitute with pinch Berries (primarily Liechi, Salac, and Petaya, which boost Attack, Speed, and Special Attack, respectively, activating at 25% HP or less), or with Flail or Reversal are fairly common, with many users such as Vigoroth, Raticate, Kingler, and Houndour. Boosting moves such as Swords Dance, Bulk Up, Calm Mind, and Curse are all seen in varying amounts, and they will be discussed with each individual user.

The Pokémon


RSE Hitmonchan

Hitmonchan is a dominant Pokémon in the tier, famous for its Choice Band set and being about the only Fighting-type in the tier, but it's also extremely versatile in the huge amount of sets it can run, including making use of Bulk Up and the rare Agility as boosting moves, letting it break past various checks. It has good coverage in Rock Slide, Earthquake, and Hidden Power Ghost, as well as Mach Punch, giving it access to rare priority. Finally, Rapid Spin completes its arsenal by letting it clear Spikes, which is notable because Hitmonchan is the only common spinner in the tier. Hitmonchan is a Pokémon you absolutely must prepare for in this tier.

Machoke does exist and is more physically bulky than Hitmonchan, with access to Guts and Bulk Up, as well as a couple of weird moves such as Encore and Light Screen. However, it is much slower than Hitmonchan and a lot of other common Pokémon, making it a subpar choice in most situations compared to Hitmonchan.


RSE Huntail

Huntail is one of the metagame's main sweepers. In the rain, it can outspeed the whole metagame and obliterate teams with powerful rain-boosted Surfs or Hydro Pumps backed up by a high base 94 Special Attack stat and STAB. This is further complemented by Ice Beam and Hidden Power Electric or Grass, which are very difficult to prepare for. There exist few hard counters to Huntail and only a few decent checks, but Dewgong and bulky Sunny Day Bellossom are probably the best answers to it, while offensive teams can usually fit a couple of Pokémon, such as Swalot, Kecleon, and Wailord, that are bulky enough to take a hit or two and retaliate with Explosion, Thunder Wave, or other strong moves. While there are some decent answers to it, it also has a base 104 Attack stat and access to Baton Pass, allowing it to surprise its main checks. It is so powerful that there is discussion about banning it from the tier!


RSE Chimecho

Chimecho is one of the very few Psychic-types in the tier, with good bulk, passable Speed, a fantastic Ground immunity thanks to Levitate, and a workable movepool. Most often seen running a Calm Mind set alongside Psychic, Hidden Power Electric, and another move such as Heal Bell, Reflect, Rest, or Substitute, it both provides a solid defensive answer to several threats, most notably Hitmonchan, and threatens opposing teams with its incredible power and workable coverage. More defensive sets are seen on occasion too, utilizing moves such as Rest + Sleep Talk, Toxic, Heal Bell, and Reflect. The major thing to keep in mind about Chimecho is that while its movepool is kinda shallow, it's very versatile in the EVs it can run, meaning it can be made to fit a lot of different roles depending on the team it's on.


RSE Mawile

Mawile looks awful on paper, with paltry 50/85/55 defenses and mediocre base 50 Speed and base 85 Attack. But, this is a true case of the typing makes the 'mon, as with a Steel typing backed up with Intimidate, and a movepool that allows it to be very effective in a variety of ways, you end up with a very impressive package. Thanks to its Steel typing, it holds a very valuable place in the tier as a reliable check to the Flying- and Normal-types in the tier, as well as various other defensive Pokémon like Swalot and Roselia. It virtually always carries Baton Pass, apart from pure SubSD sets and occasionally a Choice Band set, and it's a great momentum-stealing pivot, with handy resistances and varied utility. The ability to set up against the increasingly popular Sableye only helps its case.


RSE Haunter

Haunter has incredible base 95 Speed, allowing it to outspeed almost everything, alongside an immense base 115 Special Attack stat—with which, thankfully for its foes, it cannot utilize its STAB attacks. Substitute alongside attacking coverage in Psychic, Thunderbolt, Giga Drain, and Hidden Power Fire, as well as access to Destiny Bond and Explosion, the rarely seen Hypnosis, and Will-O-Wisp make Haunter a versatile special attacker. Levitate and its Normal and Fighting immunities make it an incredible Hitmonchan switch-in, while its Poison typing grants it useful Grass and Poison resistances, meaning that it doesn't struggle too much with switching in a couple of times per game. This is another Pokémon you must absolutely be prepared for, and part of the reason why special walls are so potent outside of checking Huntail.


RSE Sableye

Although Sableye's stats are fairly mediocre, the ability to answer Hitmonchan, Haunter, Chimecho, and various other Pokémon makes it a fantastic defensive option. Usually it runs a physically defensive set with Recover, Shadow Ball, and Toxic (it doesn't get Will-O-Wisp in ADV), but access to Calm Mind, Taunt, Knock Off, and a wide variety of coverage moves means that alternative sets can work on it as well. Ultimately, it is one of the most important defensive Pokémon to prepare for when crafting a team, and the combination of it and specially defensive Flareon creates an extremely durable defensive core. This Pokémon is also being suspected, as some players feel that it would be too good with Huntail gone.

Vigoroth and Raticate

RSE Vigoroth RSE Raticate

Vigoroth and Raticate are quite similar Pokémon, with both in essence filling the role of a fast, powerful Normal-type. At base 97 Speed, Raticate outspeeds the whole unboosted tier, while also having access to Quick Attack, making it arguably the better user of Endure/Substitute + Liechi Berry + Flail. Vigoroth has access to Bulk Up, Focus Punch, Flail, Reversal, Earthquake (meaning that it doesn't have to use Hidden Power Ground like Raticate does), Slack Off, and Taunt, making it the much more versatile of the two. It sits at an impressive base 90 Speed, but quite a few important Pokémon such as Plusle, Haunter, Pidgeot, and Murkrow can outspeed it. Ultimately, Raticate is the better choice versus offensive teams, but against more balanced ones, Relicanth and other Rock- or Steel-types in particular can answer it with ease. Both are major threats that you should consider when teambuilding, both to use and to play against.

Arbok, Golbat, Seviper, and Swalot

RSE Arbok RSE Golbat RSE Seviper RSE Swalot

Arbok, Golbat, Seviper, and Swalot are all fairly similar Pokémon, as they fill the role of Poison-type Hitmonchan check. Arbok's Intimidate combined with its Poison typing and good Speed makes it a great offensive Hitmonchan switch-in, allowing it to deal damage in return with Choice Band-boosted attacks. Golbat functions similarly, trading Intimidate for a Flying typing (giving it a Ground immunity and an incredible 4x resistance to Fighting, but also a Rock weakness), and a blistering base 90 Speed and access to Whirlwind (as well as, in certain situations, Curse). Seviper is slower and frailer than both of these, but it does have fantastic mixed attacking stats alongside Glare, with a reasonable selection of moves to make use of its stats. Swalot has incredible bulk but a peculiar movepool. It's the only one of the four that can take a hit from rain-boosted Huntail and the only one with Explosion or Counter as well. It's quite versatile, which makes it a challenge to play against, but it's also difficult to build around. All of these Pokémon also check Sun sweepers like Tangela, due to their nifty Grass resistances (4x in Golbat's case), and in the latter two's case, mostly unaffected by Sleep Powder.

Belossom and Tangela

RSE Bellossom RSE Tangela

As the tier's other weather sweepers, Tangela and Bellossom utilize Sunny Day alongside Solar Beam and Hidden Power Fire. Tangela is the faster, more powerful, and more physically bulky of the two (making it a good Vigoroth check), and it also has access to both Sleep Powder and Stun Spore. Bellossom is often chosen for its much more defensive role on teams, as it can answer Huntail with its fantastic Special Defense alongside Sunny Day (counterplaying its rain) and Synthesis, as well as its ability to beat Plusle easily. They're important to prepare for, especially considering that they have access to Sleep Powder, but they are less scary to face than most of the previously mentioned Pokémon due to the higher number of Pokémon that can effectively check them.


RSE Flareon

Flareon is a very strong and versatile Pokémon in the tier with its great Special Defense and gigantic Attack alongside passable Special Attack and Speed. It is the best answer to Sunnybeamers (sometimes even running RestTalk to counteract Sleep Powder), running everything from fully defensive to fully offensive sets, using both attacking stats. Notable moves include Roar and Wish, letting it act as a cleric for a team and phaze foes, with the latter being particularly powerful with Spikes support. Its massive Special Defense alongside Roar or appropriate coverage lets it check a large portion of the tier, including Plusle, Haunter, and Chimecho. Quick Attack and Baton Pass are also useful; Quick Attack is primarily used to thwart Endure users. Offensively, Choice Band Flareon is a little more of a surprise due to its lower Speed and lack of physical STAB attack making it a rarer choice, but due to that surprise factor, it can be a fairly effective wallbreaker.


RSE Glalie

As mentioned earlier, Glalie is mostly seen as a Spikes lead and has almost single handedly developed a lead metagame based around preventing it from setting up Spikes effectively. Its base stats are all 80, which translates into being fast, fairly bulky, and somewhat powerful in this metagame. Glalie usually runs Spikes, Explosion, Ice Beam, and Taunt, with maximum Speed and a boosting nature, and then the remaining EVs are usually put into HP or an attacking stat. Glalie can, however, run a variety of other moves, often chosen over Taunt, such as Earthquake, Rain Dance, Light Screen, Crunch, and Shadow Ball, depending on the team's needs. Leftovers is generally its choice of item, but this can be changed to fit the team's needs—for example, if you don't need it alive after it has set up Spikes, Silk Scarf is an option to boost the power of Explosion. Many ways to anti-lead it exist, such as faster or slower Fire-types, sleep-inducing leads like Venomoth, fast Taunt leads like Vigoroth, Poliwhirl (it sets up Belly Drum safely vs Glalie thanks to an immunity to Explosion), and Choice Band users that can OHKO it such as Hitmonchan and Relicanth. Rapid Spin Hitmonchan is what stall teams usually run in the lead slot against it.

Murkrow and Pidgeot

RSE Murkrow RSE Pidgeot

The partners in crime, Murkrow and Pidgeot both sit at a dazzling base 91 Speed, outspeeding a huge and important portion of the metagame, with powerful STAB Drill Peck on Murkrow and STAB Double-Edge on Pidgeot. Generally, Hidden Power Ground is used on both of them, as it gets perfect coverage alongside their Flying-type STAB moves—although if you run both birds, Hidden Power Grass is a viable lure move on Murkrow, smashing its common checks such as Relicanth, Graveler, and Sudowoodo, while leaving Pidgeot with the ability to run Hidden Power Ground. Both Pokémon generally run a Choice Band, although pinch Berries or type-boosting items such as Silk Scarf and Sharp Beak are viable options too.


RSE Roselia

Roselia's main niche is Spikes setting, typically making it a stall team's choice of Spiker over Glalie, but it has many other tools too. Synthesis provides reliable recovery, Stun Spore lets it spread status, and Aromatherapy can remove status ailments from its teammates. Leech Seed, Hidden Power Fire, and a variety of Grass-type attacks ultimately flesh it out as a very versatile Pokémon. Its typing is both a blessing and a curse; resisting Fighting is nice, but its stat spread makes it fairly ineffective at taking physical hits, and it's weak to a multitude of special attacks. Nevertheless, it's a fine check to Huntail, Plusle, and other Pokémon. Offensively, it can pack a bit of a punch too—though its base Speed sits at the overpopulated 65 Speed tier, it has a handy base 100 Special Attack, meaning that it always leaves a mark.

Plusle, Minun, and Pikachu

RSE Plusle RSE Minun RSE Pikachu

These three Electric types all function very similarly. Plusle and Minun both sit at an incredible base 95 Speed, and Pikachu sits at the still quick base 90 Speed tier, with Plusle being the more offensive of the Plus/Minus pair. Pikachu requires a Light Ball to double its Special Attack, and it can run Volt Tackle or Surf (they are incompatible together, though), as well as Hidden Power and Encore, and it is the hardest-hitting of the three. Plusle and Minun have access to Thunder, Thunderbolt, and Hidden Power (usually Ice or Grass), alongside tools such as Rain Dance, Baton Pass, Wish, Encore, Fake Tears, Thunder Wave, and Light Screen. However, Plusle tends to run a more offensive set with its STAB and Hidden Power, as anything more supportive is generally left to the marginally bulkier Minun. Their Speed, rare typing, and decent power contribute to them being significant members of the tier.


RSE Dewgong

Dewgong is one of very few Pokémon that only really fits on full stall. It is arguably the best Huntail answer in the tier and has access to Perish Song to help counter some threats like Calm Mind Chimecho and Sableye. However, its Ice typing generally does it more harm than good, making it hard to switch into Rock-types in particular, which would otherwise be an easy task for it. It's a very specific and one-dimensional Pokémon, but it can be invaluable when you require it.

Graveler and Sudowoodo

RSE Graveler RSE Sudowoodo

Graveler and Sudowoodo are two somewhat similar Pokémon that also have competition with Relicanth. Both of them are often seen with Choice Band sets, although Sudowoodo sometimes runs SubPunch. Graveler's main draws over Sudowoodo and Relicanth are STAB-boosted Earthquake combined with Explosion, while Sudowoodo differs in having access to Focus Punch and lacking the extra weaknesses that Graveler's Ground typing brings. Overall, though, both are fantastic checks to Murkrow, Pidgeot, and Raticate, and they are both powerful (but slow and somewhat vulnerable) offensive monsters themselves.

Kecleon and Lickitung

RSE Kecleon RSE Lickitung

Kecleon and Lickitung are both significant special walls. Kecleon is generally a focused status platform for offense and a Huntail check, while Lickitung is more focused on supporting stall with its access to both Wish and Heal Bell on the same set, which no other Pokémon in the tier can do. Kecleon makes for a good fit on offense, and although it's not the fastest or most aggressive Pokémon, it checks a large portion of the tier, making it a great status spreader during the game. Unfortunately, it can only use Protect and Rest to recover damage, but it tends to not be overburdened, so it usually isn't bothered by its lack of recovery. It can also run a Choice Band set, utilizing moves such as Trick and Focus Punch, but it sacrifices a lot of what makes Kecleon good and becomes much more easy to wear down. Wigglytuff is a versatile alternative to either of these Pokémon, boasting a higher Special Attack, but it has generally inferior bulk.


RSE Pelipper

Pelipper is one of the most reliable Hitmonchan checks, with an immunity to Ground, a resistance to Fighting, and no Ghost weakness, as well as decent base Speed and Special Attack stats. Sometimes it struggles to combine everything it wants into one spread or set, making it difficult to get sufficient mileage out of both its power and its bulk. Nevertheless, it is a strong choice for balance teams in search of a dedicated, hard-hitting check to Hitmonchan.


RSE Torkoal

Torkoal's main stand-out features are having Curse and Explosion, as well as a Fire typing. Its Speed is awful, but its other stats are pretty good. 70/140/70 bulk coupled with very nice 85/85 attacking stats mean that no Pokémon other than Water-types are likely to force it out easily—although, unfortunately, there are many of these in ADV NU. Curse and Amnesia together is an interesting combination, but it is severely restrictive to Torkoal's moveslots. Overall it is a very effective mixed wall in the tier that can be EVed to effectively wall or check particular Pokémon that give your team trouble.

As a footnote, it does not learn Rapid Spin in this generation.

Relicanth, Whiscash, and Piloswine

RSE Relicanth RSE Whiscash RSE Piloswine

These three Pokémon are all subtly different, giving each other competition. Relicanth is probably the best of them. Flying and Normal resistances alongside insane 100/130 physical bulk make it a really strong wall in the metagame, and indeed it's versatile. It can run sets such as Choice Band and physically defensive, as well as the rare Swift Swim and Calm Mind + RestTalk sets, all of which allow it to function in a variety of different teams—it even functions as a lead with Choice Band, since although Relicanth is outsped by Glalie, it can OHKO Glalie and Glalie can't deal any meaningful damage in return.

Whiscash checks a lot of similar Pokémon, although it trades those quite exceptional defensive stats and Normal and Flying resistances for the ability to attack with both of its attacking stats, and a handy Electric immunity that makes it less scared of Plusle and Minun (although Hidden Power Grass still does a lot to it). It can pull off a variety of sets, being able to be a physically defensive or specially defensive wall, offensive Pokémon, or a mixed tank; either way, it is a challenge to wear it down.

Piloswine functions similarly to Whiscash, being able to also wield a Choice Band, although it has greater access to utility moves in Light Screen and Roar, as well as Ice-type STAB attacks and a less severe Grass weakness.


RSE Pupitar

Pupitar is an important threat to keep in mind due to one move: Dragon Dance. After a single Dragon Dance Pupitar outspeeds the whole unboosted tier, and it boasts about as much power as its Choice Band wielding counterparts Graveler and Sudowoodo. Though Dragon Dance is tricky to set up, Pupitar is very dangerous after a boost, with STAB on both Earthquake and Rock Slide, as well as access to Shed Skin, making it somewhat Toxic and other status-resilient. It's important to prepare for Pupitar and to not allow it to set up too easily.

Kingler and Crawdaunt

RSE Kingler RSE Crawdaunt

Both of these crabs are fairly significant, but not totally dominant by any means, in the metagame. Kingler enjoys access to Flail and Swords Dance, as well as a good Speed tier, while Crawdaunt enjoys being a fairly functional mixed attacker with an OK typing, although its Water typing, like Murkrow's Flying typing, is a major reason as to why Chimecho runs Hidden Power Electric on its Calm Mind sets. Both can also run a very dangerous Choice Band set making use of Double-Edge and Hidden Power Ground among other moves, which while lacking a physical STAB, is still effective as they can blow through a couple of the usual Normal-type resists like Graveler with a STAB Surf.


RSE Venomoth

Venomoth is an odd but highly viable choice in the metagame. It's virtually immune to Fighting-type moves and sits at the high but popular base 90 Speed tier. Almost every Venomoth will have Sleep Powder, and it makes a functional anti-lead to Glalie thanks to the move. Apart from Sleep Powder, Venomoth can run a huge variety of other sets, with access to support moves like Stun Spore, Baton Pass, and Substitute, and stats that allow it to make use of both of its physical STAB types in Bug and Poison, as well as a decent Special Attack stat to use its reasonable special movepool, containing moves such as Psychic, Giga Drain, and Hidden Power Fire. Unlike other Bug Pokémon such as Beedrill, Ariados, Ledian, and Volbeat, it sits at a fantastic Speed tier, but at the cost of no boosting moves to pass, so it's mainly run for momentum's sake.


RSE Diglett

Diglett is frail, but it sits at the exceptional base 95 Speed tier. Mainly, it can only really come in as a revenge killer or through Baton Pass, or in rare instances by utilizing its slightly useful Poison and Rock resistances and Electric immunity to come in versus defensively focused foes such as Swalot. The existence of a Rock- or Steel-type on nearly every team, as well as the commonness of Fire- and Poison-types overall, grants it a niche and assures that it'll be useful every game at eliminating a particular wall or offensive Pokémon your team would otherwise struggle against. Diglett is particularly adept at picking part heavy stall builds that rely on a Wish passer like Flareon.


RSE Cacturne

Cacturne is the only other relevant Spiker apart from Roselia and Glalie, and it has a passable Grass/Dark typing and high offensive stats that let it check Chimecho and a handful of other Pokémon. Its wide offensive movepool and good mixed attacking stats allow it to function as a more offensively focused mid-game Spiker despite its mediocre Speed. It's nothing phenomenal, but it is an important member of many teams.

Wailord and Octillery

RSE Wailord RSE Octillery

Wailord is the other Pokémon in the tier notable for its access to Curse and Self-Destruct. Its bulk is generally inferior to Whiscash's and Dewgong's, but it excels at going on the offensive. Its EVs can be adjusted to survive any hit from Huntail and OHKO back with Self-Destruct, as well as making it generally tricky to take down with any one hit. It's quite versatile, being able to run more defensive or offensive Curse variants, a pure defensive (but still exploding!) set, Choice Band sets, or special attacking sets. The exploding whale is not totally noteworthy in the tier, being slow and vulnerable to a couple of key attacking types, but it can fit a variety of more minor niches, and it is not at all one-dimensional.

Octillery is a little more powerful than Wailord, though it has less bulk and Speed. Its main advantage is its unpredictability due to its wide movepool which includes moves like Thunder Wave and Fire Blast, but overall it's generally inferior to Wailord and other Water-types such as Crawdaunt, which provide similar competition.

Metang and Lairon

RSE Metang RSE Lairon

Metang faces a lot of competition with Mawile, but it has a few benefits over its counterpart. Greater special bulk, having a fantastic match-up versus Chimecho, and access to Light Screen, Reflect, and Explosion differentiate it from Mawile. Although it is generally inferior at checking physical attackers, it still checks them while being a solid check to various special attackers, which Mawile generally just runs away from. Generally tailored to fit its team, Metang is a versatile and reasonably powerful and bulky Pokémon, and so it's a pretty interesting fit in the metagame. Lairon is probably the "worst" of the three prominent Steel-types, as the main types that it handles, such as Normal and Flying, are usually accompanied by Fighting- or Ground-type coverage, which annihilate it. This is why it will generally be specially defensive, which allows it to check a multitude of special attackers while still being effective at walling Normal- and Flying-type attacks. It also hits fairly hard, so it can act as a pivot with fantastic resistances and good bulk accompanied by a Choice Band.


We hope that this first glance into the metagame is a positive one; come and check it out! A pretty wide variety of Pokémon are viable, and many strategies are workable without teambuilding being extremely strenuous. Lots of Pokémon are fairly untested or underexplored, so there's plenty of room to be creative and advance the game. There are several resources in the RBY/GSC/ADV Analyses and Ruins of Alph subforums to help you further your knowledge as well! Although we haven't elaborated specifically on playstyles due to the already grand length of the article, we hope you can see that the metagame is pretty varied in terms of ways to play.

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