By eco_politiq, ilikepizza42, and 2180161

Introduction

We are now one month into the Sun-Moon metagame, and if there’s one thing for sure, it’s that the plethora of new Alolan forms, Ultra Beasts, Z-Crystals, and changes to old Pokemon have turned the metagame on its head in ways nobody expected. This week, three of our leaders here at the Pokemon Reddit League will share their first takes on the new dynamics of competitive Pokemon.

BUT FIRST…

May we have a moment of remembrance for the fall of two OU staples, Talonflame and Gengar. When it was revealed that many abilities had been altered to level the competitive playing field, players rejoiced… but then we saw what the consequences really were. With no levitate to protect him from Ground-type attacks, for the first time in the history of Pokemon Gengar is not ranked OU. (Source: http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/official-smogon-university-usage-statistics-discussion-thread-mk-2.3508502/page-10#post-7125494) In fact, it’s barely even considered UU at this point. And the Bravest of Birds has met a similar fate with its once epic Gale Wings ability now only working at full health.

talonflamegengar

Rest easy, sweet princes.


Offensive Sleigh Ride: Eco’s Hail Hyper Offense Team

Hey all, Eco here! As a steel leader, one of my favorite things about my type is the diversity. I’ve been longing for an ice/steel type for a very long time, and I was excited this generation when Gamefreak announced that Alolan Sandslash would fit the bill! I was even more excited to discover its ability, Slush Rush, and so I’ve been longing for a few months to try out the newest toys for hail teams. After a lot of jumping around the ladder and toying with different mons, I think I’ve unlocked a few of the keys to making use of these Pokemon. I climbed as high as 1350 at one point, but depending on the ‘mons I was using feel as low as 1075 (ouch, right?)

So, without further ado, here is the team I’ve been using so far:

ninetales-alolan

Alolan Ninetales @ Icy Rock

Ability: Snow Warning

EV’s: 252 SpA/252 Spe/6 SpD

Timid Nature

Blizzard, Freeze Dry, Moonblast, Aurora Veil

sandslash-alolan

Alolan Sandslash @ Life Orb

Ability: Slush Rush

EV Spread: 252 Att/252 Spe/6 Def

Jolly Nature

Icicle Crash, Iron Head, Earthquake, Swords Dance

kommo_o_sprite_by_profkrd-dal32rq

Kommo-o @ Lum Berry

Ability: Overcoat

EV’s: 252 Att/252 Spe/6 SpA

Naive Nature

Outrage, Sky Uppercut, Flamethrower, Dragon Dance

excadrill

Excadrill @ Leftovers

Ability: Mold Breaker

EV’s: 252 HP/252 Att/6 Spe

Adamant Nature

Earthquake, Rock Slide, Stealth Rock, Rapid Spin

gyarados

Gyarados @ Leftovers

Ability: Intimidate

EV’s: 88 HP/220 Att/4 Def/196 Spe

Jolly Nature

Waterfall, Bounce, Substitute, Dragon Dance

alakazam-mega

Mega Alakazam @ Alakazite

Ability: Magic Guard (Will be Trace after Mega Evolving)

EV’s: 252 SpA/252 Spe/6 SpD

Timid Nature

Psyshock, Shadow Ball, Focus Blast, Energy Ball

As I said, I experimented with a few balanced builds at first, with the mindset that Ninetales’ and Sandslash’s weaknesses required defensive coverage. After a conversation with our Competitive Chair locoghoul, I realized I was going about it the wrong way, and so I switched to an offensive build.

This team uses a support build for Excadrill with leftovers, the objective of which is to set stealth rock and keep respective hazards off the field. Gyarados and Excadrill have great synergy, taking advantage of one anothers’ weaknesses to switch in. Currently, I am running the standard subdance set on Gyarados.

Meanwhile, Ninetales-A goes out whenever an opening is available. After trying Choice Specs, Light Clay, and Icy Rock, I’ve decided Icy Rock is my favorite item, especially for hyper offense. Prolonged hail ensures chip damage, and hail is something a lot of teams don’t plan for–for good reason, since this is the first time it’s been viable. Blizzard, Freeze Dry, and Moonblast provide super effective coverage as needed, since its movepool is shallow. Aurora Veil rounds out the movepool, allowing Sandslash-A to switch in, boost with Swords Dance, and proceed to sweep with Steel/Ice/Ground coverage. With a life orb and SD boost, Sandslash can tear through much of the tier and is a threat to all playstyles. Slush Rush even lets it outrun unboosted Pheromosa in Hail! Seriously, don’t underestimate this thing.

Rounding out a nice Steel-Fairy-Dragon core is Kommo-o. I have to admit this thing is underwhelming so far. Game Freak trolled us hard when they gave no better fighting moves than Sky Uppercut. This thing wants Close Combat, the elemental punches, and Stone Edge badly! Luckily, it has a few things going for it, like great mixed bulk and offensive stats, access to dragon dance, and three killer abilities. I run Overcoat on mine so it can take advantage of the hail Ninetales sets for chip damage.

Finally, Mega Alakazam rounds things off as a fast and powerful cleaner. It can enter in hail before mega evolving and avoid chip damage with Magic Guard, and its high special attack stat mean it can make some of the final kills of the game.

So what threatens this team? Pheromosa. Seriously, that thing needs to GO. Smogon made the right decision nixing Aegislash quick, since it was on 1 in every 3 teams, but Pheromosa is literally unstoppable. I ran a balanced team with Mega Sableye for a while that handled her better, but she is just impossible.

Aside from that, my observation so far is that the metagame has really shifted. The Tapus, Ultra Beasts, and Alolan forms are certainly everywhere, even in Bank OU where I’ve been spending most of my time. Aurora Veil and Slush Rush really add to hail’s viability, but it is still a playstyle that requires significant support to pull off. It will be interesting to see where things end up once the metagame settles and some of the more deplorable ultra beasts are sent to ubers.


Conversion Therapy: Pizza’s Balanced Offensive Team

Hello, my name is Brent and today I will be showing you guys a team I’ve been using on Pokebank OU. It’s done alright, I’ve gotten to 1350 and stopped, due to lack of playing not lack of team ability. The ceiling is still possibly higher. Here’s the team

zapdos

Zapdos @ Leftovers  

Ability: Static  

EV’s: 252 HP / 172 Def / 68 SpA / 16 Spe  

Bold Nature  

Thunderbolt, Roost, Volt Switch, Heat Wave  

manaphy

Manaphy @ Leftovers  

Ability: Hydration  

EV’s: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe  

Timid Nature   

Tail Glow, Scald,  Rain Dance, Psychic  

porygon-z

Porygon-Z @ Normalium Z  

Ability: Adaptability  

EV’s: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe  

Timid Nature  

Thunderbolt, Ice Beam, Conversion, Nasty Plot  

excadrill

Excadrill @ Choice Scarf  

Ability: Mold Breaker  

EV’s: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe  

Jolly Nature  

Earthquake, Iron Head, Rapid Spin, Rock Slide  

genesect

Genesect @ Choice Scarf  

Ability: Download  

EV’s: 248 Atk / 8 SpA / 252 Spe  

Naive Nature  

U-turn, Iron Head, Ice Beam, Explosion  

greninja

Greninja @ Life Orb  

Ability: Protean  

EV’s: 4 Atk / 252 SpA / 252 Spe  

Naive Nature  

Water Shuriken, Ice Beam, Hydro Pump, Grass Knot  

 

So to start things off I’m using Static defensive Zapdos. The reason for that is I needed volt switch more than I needed defog from Zapdos, and that in turn allowed me to run static, which is a very nice ability. It paralyzes many U turners (Genesect, Landorus, Scizor) which complements Zapdos’ very nice defensive typing. Zapdos also fills a good niche of countering Kartana. Nothing Kartana runs can even touch it, while Zapdos has a 4x Heat Wave waiting to OHKO with. Zapdos is mainly here as a pivot and to gain momentum with Volt Switch, but it has a usable special attack that allows Thunderbolt to put it work. EV’s are to outspeed Bisharp, always OHKO Mega Pinsir and the rest thrown into physical bulk.

Manaphy is the wallbreaker that I chose to put on this team. Being a bulky water, it also fills in well to cover the fire weakness the team has. Along with rain dance, it can make a nice status absorber. I run the standard rain dance, tail glow along with scald and psychic. Psychic is so that Mega Venusaur doesn’t completely wall me. Standard 252/252/4 spread.

Next up is one of the new threats that SM brought us. Z conversion Porygon-Z. Z conversion turns Porygon Z into a deadly sweeper. With enough bulk to set up, it allows Porygon-Z to sweep entire teams that have no check with its bolt-beam coverage. While Porygon-Z is a win con of its own, it can be dead weight against certain teams, namely ones that have either red card, sturdy whirlwind Skarm, or special defensive Alolan Marowak. Marowak is a common anti meta pick and it shuts down Porygon-Z hard. You need to play around with it and eliminate it before Porygon can set up. Nasty plot boosts our special attack to insane levels after Z conversion and allows to break past many walls if they let us set up.

I chose scarf Excadrill next, to give us some ground coverage and a way to spin hazards. With a surprising amount of bulk, Exca can switch in on some attacks, rapid spin and then switch out to the appropriate counter. Scarf locking us in can really kill momentum if he’s forced to rapid spin, so sometimes you may have to sack him to get the win. Scarf is powerful, as it allows us to outspeed Tapu Koko and get the OHKO. It is also a good way to deal with Rotom-W as mold breaker allows us to ignore levitate and smack it with STAB Earthquake. I must stress how important it is to keep Excadrill alive against Tapu Koko, as he is our only check to him. Tapu Koko can run havoc if you allow it to, so therefore you must either have set up Porygon-Z before hand, or sack Genesect on an explosion if you let Excadrill die.

Genesect is the bread and butter of our team. Freshly unbanned and waiting to get sent back to ubers, he will do well until his time here is done. Scarf allows us to outspeed a majority of the meta game and download can boost us to deal some serious damage. He doesn’t do amazing against the Tapu’s since half of them resist U turn, but he is a very good momentum gainer. With only 1 weakness and an unpredictable movepool, the opponent should be wary of whoever they sent in against him. Scarf being the most common set should be predictable, but the ice beam is not. It’s used as a counter lead against Garchomps and Landorus as scarf has us outspeeding and OHKO’ing with ice beam. Against the Pheromosa lead I recommend going Iron Head, as it can OHKO. U turn might sound nice, but a wrong prediction usually leads to a dead mon and a +1 speed on Pheromosa, which does not allow your scarfers to outspeed anymore. Explosion is our nuke for when Genesect is close to death, or when you want to do a 1 for 1 trade. This set is also walled by Marowak, but chip damage on U turn to the Greninja/Manaphy/Excadrill switch can force it back out.

Finally we have Greninja, a fan favorite from X/Y he was banned in ORAS OU because of the dangerous weapons the move tutors gave him. Returning to our team, he is the generic special attacker that we use. With a higher speed and special attack than Starmie, he is a dangerous threat to other teams. I chose Hydro Pump, Water Shuriken, Grass Knot and Ice Beam. Grass Knot is so that my team doesn’t get walled by Quagsire, Hydro Pump for power, Ice Beam to hit many things super effectively and Water Shuriken as I lack any form of priority. Water Shuriken can be a little sacky if you hit things for 5, but it does alright as a priority move. I chose Protean as my ability because I like the immediate power it offers me. HP grass is another viable alternative over Grass Knot, Grass Knot just allows me to hit heavier things for more damage if need be. Other moves to consider are Low Kick, Gunk Shot, Dark Pulse, and various Hidden Powers that receive a STAB boost.
This team is a balanced Volt Turn team and can do some damage in the right hands. It is however very reliant on predictions and allowing your Manaphy and Porygon-Z to set up. It struggles against Hyper Offense since nobody on the team can outspeed base 100 speeds at +1. Marowak and Tapu Koko are big threats to it and are unfortunately common meta game picks. This is not my first nor my final iteration of this team, and if you want to use it, feel free to tweak it to your needs. It’s a good start for those wanting to dip their toes into the S/M meta.

Beast Mode: 2180161’s Balanced Offensive Team

Hey people of Reddit!  2180161 writing this time, and this is about a team I’m using in the current Pokebank OU for Sun and Moon, and trends I’ve noticed while battling. I peaked at about 1350 with this team, but not due to the team. I just am incapable of battling higher than that well.

pheromosa

Pheromosa @ Choice Scarf

Ability: Beast Boost

EV’s 252Att/252SpA/4Spe

Lonely Nature

Bug Buzz, High Jump Kick, Ice beam, U-turn

Not much to say about this one. It makes for a great mixed sweeper, as choice scarf makes it outspeed base 104’s at +1. The mixed spread gives it great coverage, and even though it has choice scarf, beast boost will boost this monster’s attack. U-turn is good to snatch momentum with.

rotom-wash

Rotom-W @ Leftovers

Ability: Levitate

EV’s: 4HP/252SpA/252Spe

Timid Nature

Volt Switch, Will-o-Wisp, Hydro Pump, Pain Split

This is different than the standard wall rotom set. It has max speed and special attack to hit hard and fast. Will-o-Wisp shuts down physical attackers, pain split is for recovery, although it may not be reliable. Hydro pump is for a strong STAB attack, and volt-switch to once again gain momentum, and perhaps get Rotom out of an unfavorable position.

garchomp

Garchomp @ Rocky Helmet

Ability: Rough Skin

EV’s: 252HP/4Att/252Def

Impish Nature

Stealth Rock, Toxic, Earthquake, Dragon Tail

This is pretty much your standard tank-chomp.  Stealth Rocks for the obvious reason, to have hazards, and toxic to help deteriorate walls. Earthquake is there for stab if something is immune to dragon tail. Dragon tail is to force targets to switch into stealth rocks, so if they switch into an unfavorable matchup, they may have to switch again and risk more stealth rock damage.

genesect

Genesect @ Choice Scarf

Ability: Download

EV’s: 252Att/4SpD/252Spe

Jolly Nature

U-turn, Explosion, Gunk Shot, Shadow Claw

While two scarf users can sometimes be unforgiving, this works fine as it can U-turn out of unfavorable situations. Explosion is for when Genesect reaches the end of its lifespan, to almost guarantee one of the opposing team is KO’d. Gunk Shot is a strong attack to take care of anything that doesn’t resist it. Shadow claw is just for coverage, as mimikyu is decently prevalent this metagame, and this team doesn’t have much to hit it.

tapu-lele

Tapu Lele@Life Orb

Ability: Psychic Surge

EV’s: 252Sp.Att/4SpD/252Spe

Timid Nature

Psychic, Energy Ball, Focus Blast, Thunderbolt

Pretty much what I would assume will be a standard Tapu Lele. Psychic for stab, Focus Blast hits steel types that would otherwise be able to resist both its STAB attacks and more than likely KO in return. Energy Ball and Thunderbolt are for coverage. This team has a lot of trouble with any Water/Ground types, and this is almost the only answer this team has.

alakazam-mega

Mega Alakazam @ Alakazite

Ability: Magic Guard (Will be trace after mega evolving)

EV’s: 252Sp.Att/4SpD/252Spe

Timid Nature

Psychic, Dazzling Gleam, Energy Ball, Focus Blast

This is a decently standard Mega Alakazam. Psychic for a strong STAB attack, Dazzling Gleam is a different choice, but it is used to hit dark types more reliably than focus blast, and helps take care of Sableye. Focus blast is there for a very strong attack that OHKO’s Bisharp.


 

Conclusion

The Sun-Moon Metagame is certainly a big shift from XY/ORAS. The return of previously banned Pokemon, the addition of Z-Crystals, Alolan forms, and Ultra Beasts, and all of the tweaks to old mechanics have all pushed the metagame towards healthy evolution. Some things will need to go eventually, especially some of the more controversial ultra beasts. However, for now, we at PRL are satisfied with the new meta and excited to see where things are heading!

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