Top 10 Doubles Threats

By zerowing.
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The average competitive Pokémon player does not often explore the doubles metagame. It is relatively new, having been introduced in the Advance generation, and is quite different from the regular singles battles to which most players are accustomed. Doubles requires thinking outside of the box to play effectively and win with regularity; moves like Protect, Follow Me, and Helping Hand are almost never seen in the standard singles battle, but in doubles these moves are extremely effective. With the impending release of Shoddy Battle 2 and its double functionality, now is a great time to look at what threats will be at the top of the OU tier list. The following list was compiled with the Video Game Championship rules in mind, and while not perfect, they are a good starting point, as the VGC has been going on for several years now and the metagame is pretty well formed at this point. The VGC rules do have several rules that will probably change when Smogon officially begins to play doubles on Shoddy Battle 2: Pokémon like Rotom and Tyranitar are banned while Latios is allowed without Soul Dew, and the item clause may or may not be in effect for the Smogon ruleset. Without further ado, the top 10 doubles threats:

1. Metagross

Metagross is hands down the best doubles Pokémon; every team needs to be prepared to face this beast. It has a great combination of Speed, Defense, and Attack, a wide variety of moves, and a great ability. Metagross fits into any team and will always perform admirably. It has the threat of Exploding at any time, has a priority move in Bullet Punch, and can use Trick to cripple Pokemon who try to set up; Metagross' possible movesets are nearly endless. With only two weaknesses, to Fire- and Ground-type attacks, Metagross is a very difficult Pokemon to bring down. An Occa or Shuca Berry will protect it from either Fire- or Ground-type attacks, respectively, for one turn. With the most common Ground-type attack, Earthquake, losing power in double battles, and most Fire-type attacks being predictable, it is not as simple as it may seem to bring this monstrosity down.

2. Dusknoir

The number 2 Pokémon on this list plays a very integral part in a very common team archetype: Trick Room. Since Dusknoir is immune to Fake Out, it can set up a strategy nearly every match, not only Trick Room, but also Rain Dance, Sunny Day, or even Gravity. Dusknoir is also immune to Explosion, which makes it a perfect teammate for Explosion-based teams utilizing its access to Imprison to stop the opponent from using Protect. Dusknoir has great defenses and its typing lends itself well to staying in games for quite some time. Furthermore, its Attack is serviceable, allowing it to not only set up a strategy, but also deal damage afterward. Dusknoir also has a multitude of support options, such as Will-O-Wisp, Swagger, and Icy Wind. If you have a strategy in mind, chances are, Dusknoir can accomplish it.

3. Smeargle

Smeargle is in an interesting Pokémon. With VGC rules, it becomes a very centralizing threat, almost requiring Lum and Chesto Berry on your team because of the Dark Void threat. Depending on how Smogon approaches Sleep Clause on Shoddy Battle 2 doubles, Smeargle could become less of a threat, but not by much, as it still has access to an immense support move list, such as Spore, Fake Out, Follow Me, Helping Hand, and Endeavor. Like most Pokemon on this list, Smeargle can find its way onto nearly every team because of its vast support options. No Pokemon can learn several combinations to which Smeargle has access, and while all of its stats leave something to be desired, its potential movesets make it that game-breaking and disruptive in the right hands.

4. Cresselia

One of the most resilient Pokemon in doubles, Cresselia is one of the toughest Pokemon to bring down, which lends it well to setting up strategies. Cresselia is one of the best users of Icy Wind and Helping Hand. Icy Wind hits both opponents and lowers the opponents' Speed by one stage, which allows some of the slower sweepers to be more effective. Cresselia can also boost the power of its sweeper's attacks with Helping Hand. Cresselia has a rather large support movepool and can do anything from set up Trick Room to protecting a team from status with Safeguard, or even use Skill Swap to give its ability, Levitate, to another Pokemon. Stat-boosting moves are rarely used due to the number of turns it can take to set up, and the faster pace of doubles makes it even harder; however, Cresselia is one of the few Pokémon who can take the punishment while it begins to set up. Calm Mind boosts its already high Special Defense, making it even more difficult to take this monster down, while also making its Special Attack more respectable, allowing it to sweep once set up.

5. Kingdra

Rain Dance is an incredibly popular team archetype in doubles. The rain makes Water-type moves stronger and activates the Swift Swim ability, making for some very strong and very fast sweepers. Kingdra is a staple on these teams because of its great secondary typing, Speed, and Special Attack. When Rain Dance is in effect, almost nothing can outspeed Kingdra and almost nothing can take boosted Hydro Pumps, and for things that do resist Water-type moves, Kingdra can fall back on its excellent secondary typing, Dragon, by shooting off STAB Draco Meteors. Kingdra fears little when Rain is in effect, and if it cannot OHKO the opponent's Pokémon, chances are, Kingdra can survive the incoming attack and attack again the next turn because of its excellent typing and decent defensive stats.

6. Latios

Latios has a number of things going for him: he is faster than a large portion of the doubles metagame, has a great Special Attack stat, and has some good attacking options. Latios can beat most Pokémon in a head to head match up because of his combination of Speed and Special Attack power, and is one of the few Pokemon who can viably use a Choice item in doubles, in this case, Choice Specs. Choice Specs Draco Meteor is one of the strongest attacks, and being resisted by only one type makes it even better; it can OHKO a large number of threats. Because Latios also has access to Trick, he can cause set up Pokemon to continue using their set up move or they will switch out, giving Latios and his partner free turns to attack. Like most Pokemon on this list, Latios can be used in nearly any team, fitting in well with his large movepool and stats. If you are not prepared for Latios, he can easily sweep your team.

7. Zapdos

Zapdos is one of the few Pokemon who can counter Metagross without taking considerable damage in return. Zapdos only fear Metagross if Metagross has Ice Punch or Explosion, and if Explosion is used, Zapdos still did its job of getting rid of Metagross. While Zapdos serves as one of the best Metagross counters in the doubles metagame, it is also a very strong and capable attacker, with access to two spread damage moves in Discharge and Heat Wave. Zapdos paired with Pokémon immune to Electric-type moves or using Protect is often a common strategy, so Zapdos can spam Discharge, dealing damage to both opposing Pokémon. Heat Wave not only gives it an option against Grass-type Pokémon, but will also do more damage than Thunderbolt and Discharge to Pokemon it hits for super effective damage. Beyond those two moves, Zapdos has quite a few options: Light Screen, Thunder Wave, U-turn, and can even function well with Rain Dance.

8. Abomasnow

Abomasnow is one of the few Pokémon who can counter Rain Dance teams. It changes the weather to hail, causing Swift Swimmers to lose their Speed bonus; resists most attacks Rain Dance Pokémon use; and can fire back usually super effective or neutral Grass Knots or Wood Hammers. While it is most commonly seen on Blizzard-abusing teams, Abomasnow can be used on a large number of teams due to its strength against Rain teams. The hail Abomasnow brings nullifies Focus Sash on non-Ice-type Pokémon, instantly kills Shedinja, and makes Blizzard a never-miss move. Not only that, but it's also a great option versus Evasion-boosting opponents and hits both opposing Pokémon--an invaluable effect.

9. Garchomp

With Earthquake's damage nerfed in doubles and Outrage hitting a random opposing Pokemon, Garchomp is not the beast that it is in singles; however, it is still a formidable threat. Garchomp is a very basic threat, most of the time you will know its moveset the second it takes the field; however, Garchomp can still do a ton of damage if you are not prepared for it. Since the damage spread of moves is nerfed in doubles, Earthquake needs to be either used by a Ground-type or combined with a high a Attack stat; Garchomp has both, making it a lethal user. Garchomp's other moves are more up in the air, but there is usually some combination of Crunch, Rock Slide, and Dragon Claw, providing Garchomp with excellent type coverage. Garchomp can pull off Swords Dance due to its Speed as well, but it is usually best with some sort of support in the form of Follow Me or Fake Out.

10. Bronzong

Bronzong is one of the best Trick Roomers; it has good defenses and only one weakness, depending on the chosen ability. What sets Bronzong apart from the other Trick Room users is Explosion, because most of the Trick Roomers lack the sheer attacking power needed to sweep. They often attack for minimal damage or are forced to switch, wasting a turn; however, Bronzong can give a better attacker a free switch in while doing a ton of damage to the opponent with Explosion. While Bronzong is usually seen on Trick Room teams, it can also set up Rain Dance or Sunny Day, then give a free switch by Exploding. Bronzong's attack stats leave something to be desired, but its resiliency allows it to use a set up move, like Calm Mind, much more effectively than most Pokémon, making it a very tough Pokemon to bring down without a critical hit.

Honorable Mentions

Togekiss does what very few Pokémon can do, Follow Me. With its bulkiness, immunity to the ever popular Earthquake, and good support movepool, it is a very good teammate for Pokemon who need to set up or don't like being hit at all.
Heatran does what other Explosion users can't: it can use STAB Fire-type attacks to hit Steel-types who resist Explosion. With Shuca Berry or Focus Sash helping its survivability, Heatran can do some major damage to other Pokémon before it is brought down.
Snorlax has a few things going for it: bulky defenses, good attack, and STAB Selfdestruct. Snorlax is usually only seen on Trick Room teams due to its low Speed, but it still works very well on its own due to the aforementioned positives.
While it is usually only on one type of team, Rain Dance, Ludicolo has access to Fake Out that helps the partner Pokemon set up Rain. Afterward, it can take advantage of the Rain with Swift Swim, outspeeding nearly every other Pokémon.
The final honorable mention has a great combination of Speed and attacking power. With the fastest non-Choice Scarf Explosion (aside from Electrode, whose 50 Base Attack discourages the use of Explosion just as Electrode's stats discourage its own use), it is a threat to Explode at any time, catching the opponent off guard and turning the tides of any battle.
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