Resource SS OU DLC2 Viability Ranking Thread [SEE: Page 105, Post 2618]

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I feel that Hippo's 112 Base Attack could be used as an Offensive Stealth Rock or a Tank. it has moves like Ice Fang to deal with Lando, Fire Fang for Ferrothorn, Stone Edge for Zapdos and Volcarona or even Superpower for T-Tar.

I quite know the sand can be used to break sashes, Excadrill and Dracozolt are good teammates to Hippowdon, also other Rock types appreciate Sandstorm support, Nihilego in Sandstorm is like an Special Sponge, it can be 2HKOd by Heatran's Earth Power.
If anyone was gonna use an offensive rocker/ground type, I’m pretty sure Chomp/Lando are the choices, being both stronger and faster. I see no reason to use offensive Hippo.
 

Finchinator

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I feel that Hippo's 112 Base Attack could be used as an Offensive Stealth Rock or a Tank. it has moves like Ice Fang to deal with Lando, Fire Fang for Ferrothorn, Stone Edge for Zapdos and Volcarona or even Superpower for T-Tar.

I quite know the sand can be used to break sashes, Excadrill and Dracozolt are good teammates to Hippowdon, also other Rock types appreciate Sandstorm support, Nihilego in Sandstorm is like an Special Sponge, it can be 2HKOd by Heatran's Earth Power.
Every other ground that’s noteworthy pulls off the offensive role much better. Meanwhile without bulk it can no longer reliably check Heatean, Dragapult, Tapu Koko, Zapdos, Excadrill, etc., so it becomes hard to justify with limited slots as is.
 
I will admit that its matchup reliance can be really rough though so I'm not really disputing a drop, but to call it outright 'bad' I think is discrediting it more than it deserves as it is something that will always need active preparation.
My issue is that Volcarona is so much more support heavy compared to most relevant sweepers. And while calling it bad may have been a bit much, i also can't think of many moments I saw it and went "oh shit". The meta has enough ways to hold it off fairly reliably that consistency is hard fo get with Volc.
 
Every other ground that’s noteworthy pulls off the offensive role much better. Meanwhile without bulk it can no longer reliably check Heatean, Dragapult, Tapu Koko, Zapdos, Excadrill, etc., so it becomes hard to justify with limited slots as is.
What do you mean, Dragapult doesn't carry Surf or Hydro Pump too often in Choice Specs sets.

Defensive Zapdos sets aren't a problem, but the Offensive variants are. If you read the Roost, Hippo can deal out the damage to Zapdos.

Tapu Koko occasionally runs Grass Knot for Ground type coverage.

A Heatran may hold a Air Balloon, which makes Hippowdon unable to Earthquake it until it's popped.

Maybe some SpD or Def EV Investments can help or not?
 
What do you mean, Dragapult doesn't carry Surf or Hydro Pump too often in Choice Specs sets.

Defensive Zapdos sets aren't a problem, but the Offensive variants are. If you read the Roost, Hippo can deal out the damage to Zapdos.

Tapu Koko occasionally runs Grass Knot for Ground type coverage.

A Heatran may hold a Air Balloon, which makes Hippowdon unable to Earthquake it until it's popped.

Maybe some SpD or Def EV Investments can help or not?
W/o special defensive investment, Dragapult's Shadow Ball will be doing a lot more damage, meaning Hippo can no longer pivot into it. Same w/ Zapdos and Specs Tapu Koko (though it still checks HDB Koko well).

252 SpA Choice Specs Dragapult Shadow Ball vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Hippowdon: 214-253 (50.9 - 60.2%) -- 89.1% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
0 SpA Zapdos Hurricane vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Hippowdon: 187-222 (44.5 - 52.8%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Choice Specs Tapu Koko Dazzling Gleam vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Hippowdon: 207-244 (49.2 - 58%) -- 60.5% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

Sure, these Pokemon have other moves to possibly hit Hippo on the switch already, but no special defense investment means that Hippo will crumple to these Pokemon's most spammable moves more quickly. Considering checking these Pokemon is its main role on a team, this is a massive deal. Investing more into its attack does not help it beat these Pokemon, so the trade off in utility is not worth it, particuarly as Garchomp is a significantly better Pokemon as an offensive Ground-type due to its better speed, attack, and Swords Dance.
 
Meanwhile:

252 SpA Choice Specs Dragapult Hydro Pump vs. 252 HP / 8 SpD Hippowdon: 388-458 (92.3 - 109%) -- 56.3% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Zapdos Hurricane vs. 252 HP / 8 SpD Hippowdon: 228-268 (54.2 - 63.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Choice Specs Tapu Koko Grass Knot (120 BP) vs. 252 HP / 8 SpD Hippowdon: 408-482 (97.1 - 114.7%) -- 81.3% chance to OHKO

A Assault Vest Increases Hippo's longevity against special moves but it can't use Status moves.
The only reason that offensive Hippo MIGHT have any merit whatsoever over just using a different ground is that you have recovery. You are already getting into unviable territory with regular offensive hippo, AV hippo is just complete garbage.
 

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I really appreciate people's desire to innovate and come up with novel strategies this late into the generation.

However, this is the viability rankings thread -- clearly intended to discuss the viability of proven strategies and the actual metagame. Nobody has used AV Hippowdon or offensive Hippowdon in relevant settings. We cannot use this thread to derive new things. We can use this thread to post about things that you have proven to be viable or more viable than the rankings reflect, but we are getting far off track.

AV Hippowdon would be very bad in a metagame where it has many, many defensive checks and relies on recovery to have its defensive profile prove worthwhile. Pokemon is far less linear than a series of 1v1 showdowns that AV Hippowdon could win vs select offensive Pokemon. I implore you to shift questions about set mixes here and metagame discovery/trend oriented posts here. I also urge anyone who does not understand the importance of simple Hippowdon vs Dragapult/Heatran/Zapdos interactions to lurk and play a bit more before making sweeping claims and drastic departures from established norms.

Let's clean it up from here. Thanks.
 
Meanwhile:

252 SpA Choice Specs Dragapult Hydro Pump vs. 252 HP / 8 SpD Hippowdon: 388-458 (92.3 - 109%) -- 56.3% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Zapdos Hurricane vs. 252 HP / 8 SpD Hippowdon: 228-268 (54.2 - 63.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Choice Specs Tapu Koko Grass Knot (120 BP) vs. 252 HP / 8 SpD Hippowdon: 408-482 (97.1 - 114.7%) -- 81.3% chance to OHKO

A Assault Vest Increases Hippo's longevity against special moves but it can't use Status moves.
Why are you using Hippo without, at least, spdef investment? Hippo is mainly a spdef wall since its typing matches up against special attackers far better than common physical attackers

Also, of all the options that deviates from Koko’s standard pivot set, Grass knot is, by far, among the most uncommon. It’s kind of a waste of a move slot since koko’s most common checks are lando, ferro, glowking, etc, and options like Nature’s Madness are preferred since it matches up better into the former two. In fact, hippo has actually gained usage as a koko check since it can deal with NM better.

Pult occasionally running hydro pump is kind of just something you have to accept, especially since flamethrower is more common and you usually have to run 3 or more pult checks per teams anyway.

Same story for balloon heatran. Spdef lefties heatran is still common and checking it great appreciated by teams.


But even ignoring its defensive qualities, there’s no reason to use offensive hippo over other offensive grounds, like garchomp, or tanks/slow wall breakers like banded ttar, melm, buzzwole, etc. Unless hippo can sufficiently differentiate itself from these other breakers, the opportunity cost is just too high.

Edit: my bad Finch! Was typing while you posted
 
Anyways, with Gen8 drawing to a close real soon, some (probably) last noms from me.

View attachment 461953View attachment 461952View attachment 461951 S- -> S
Feels like as good a time as any, especially given their excellence rn. Heatran is a hugely important presence both offensively and defensively at this moment, being an invaluable glue mon for a lot of teams that has incredible utility. Checking large swaths of the metagame and being so tough to switch into itself. Its arguably the best steel type in the tier and undoubtedly a top 3 pokemon at worst. And that's without getting into air balloon sets.

Weavile and Dragapult meanwhile remain arguably the biggest considerations in the builder on their respective spectrums, despite the meta adapting. Pult is the reason every team needs a ghost "check" and Weavile is arguably why so many defensive pokemon run rocky helmet, just to keep it from spamming triple axel all game. Pult has set diversity to give it many options between specs and DD, and even using uncommon sets to catch foes. Ehile Weavile isn't as varied, what it does have are all highly threatening. HDB negating hazard presdure, CB being brutal as a breaker, and SD+LO being nigh unwallable if set up (LO sets are quite popular at high ladder). Both are restrictive, highly influential pokemon and much above the rest of the tier.

View attachment 461955 B -> B+
Hippo is better than everything in B. Its newfound usage hasn't really slowed and for good reason. Reliable defensive mon, sandstorm chip is useful, good check to common threats from Zapdos to Koko to Glowking to Dragapult. And of course supporting sand teams. Its old issues still exist but its continued usage is worth a raise.

View attachment 461963B- -> B
Underrated pokemon in the meta that is nicely poised to take advantage of the status and passive damage flying everywhere rn. It's a solid CM user that's surprisingly annoying to switch into between psyshock and thunder and can even win CM wars thanks to psyshock. Set up isn't easy and it isn't easy to fit but definitely works well. And better than everything in B-.

View attachment 461962 View attachment 461966View attachment 461967A -> A- and View attachment 461956A- -> B+
Batch drop noms go. None of them except Volc are really bad per say but they don't feel like A rank atm. Ttar is threatening but still held back by its low speed and vulnerable typing, susceptible to chip as a result and has some competition with Hippo as a sand setter. Dragonite is good, but... Defensive sets just feel so vulnerable to pivot spam and status, and can feel kinda passive at times. And offensive sets don't work THAT consistently. Buzzwole is just a case of both sets have issues. Offensive sets can't check Weavile as well and you may have to relegate that duty elsewhere. Defensive sets are extra status and hazard prone and it just comes off as worse than Slowbro who can at least regen off the damage and pass future sights.

Volcarona just isn't consistent. Struggles to sweep with too many checks around, needs more support, and is just frustrating to use.

View attachment 461964 B -> B- andView attachment 461954B- -> C+
Blissey is just a questionable pokemon to use when so many better special pivots exist. In particular, Glowking is excellent and while not quite as bulky, has plenty of ways to be used and is a much more versatile and effective pokemon. Bisharp meanwhile is just fringe. Fake steel type, outclassed as a dark type and outclassed as a defiant abuser.

Whew that is it from me.
I wanna touch a bit on these noms.

Agree on Heatran to S, on top of what Moyashi described, it is one of the mons that makes the most progress by virtue of its movepool and the general lack of long-term switch-ins. At this point I think it reaches Lando-T's level.

Disagree on Weavile and Dragapult. I don't feel like they are at the same level as the other two. Weavile is quite obnoxious to switch into thanks to its power and Knock Off, forcing progress but still needs the support of the other members to break through, unlike the aforementioned Heatran who does this on its own. Probably top 3 mon in the meta, but would support Weavile to S only if the council merges both S and S-. Regarding Dragapult, there are plenty of stopgaps in every playstyle and early-to-mid game it rarely dents a well-built team even if scouted wrong the first time. On top of that, despite a great defensive typing its defensive prowess is quite lackluster, e.g. you need a primary switch-in to threats like Volcanion or Urshifu even though through its typing it would in theory check them well, something that has to be taken care of in the teambuilding process. Unlike Melmetal it cannot afford to trade attacks either. For sure one of the best mon in the metagame, but not S level in my book.

Agree on Hippowdon. One of the best wall in the metagame right now.

Disagree on Buzzwole, Dragonite and Tyranitar. Buzzwole remains one of the best, if not the best initial switch-in to Weavile, maybe outside of Tapu Fini. Kartana and/or Rillaboom based-teams are also quite troubled by Buzzwole presence. It is also by no means passive, even the Slowtwins cannot switch-in recklessly in fear of Toxic or Leech Life. Dragonite fills a defensive niche even with an offensive set by virtue of its typing and ability. Provided Multiscale is active it is, with Melmetal, one of the only stops to a threat that got out of control during a game. Tyranitar has still very few switch-ins, with the only caveat being Stone Edge's accuracy and limited PP (especially against Corviknight). It also keeps a lot of defensive utility thanks to its double-edged sword typing. While it has a lot of weaknesses, it can just check special Pult and Blacephalon just fine. Having a positive matchup against all other weathers, namely Pelipper, Alotails and Torkoal is also a bonus. While the improving Hippowdon somewhat gives a little competition as a sand setter, it ultimately comes to the playstyle one wishes to use, as offensive sand requires the breaking power of Tyranitar.

Agree on Volcarona, Blissey, and also somewhat on Bisharp.


I also want to nominate Keldeo from C to at least B-, preferentially B.


The set is Calm Mind, Hydro Pump (don't use Scald), Secret Sword, with the last move being Icy Wind, Taunt or Substitute, depending on whether Dragonite/Tornadus-T or Toxapex is more of a problem. Substitute lets Keldeo set up in front of Gastrodon, Glowking and the Slowtwins.

With its speed, Special Water and Physical Fighting coverage, it threatens a large portion of top-tier pokemon. Lando-T, Heatran, Melmetal, Weavile, Ferrothorn, Tyranitar or Blacephalon. After a Calm Mind, Dragapult's matchup becomes really shaky, and non Unaware/ non Thunder Wave Clefable just folds. Kartana cannot switch in, Tapu Fini is nowhere to be seen.


+1 252 SpA Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 0 HP / 4 SpD Dragapult: 169-199 (53.3 - 62.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
+1 252 SpA Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 252 HP / 56+ SpD Clefable: 250-295 (63.4 - 74.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
0 SpA Clefable Moonblast vs. +1 0 HP / 4 SpD Keldeo: 144-170 (44.5 - 52.6%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
+1 252 SpA Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 252 HP / 120+ SpD Assault Vest Slowking-Galar: 135-159 (34.2 - 40.3%) -- guaranteed 3HKO
252 SpA Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 248 HP / 0 SpD Zapdos: 195-231 (50.9 - 60.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
+1 252 SpA Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 248 HP / 0 SpD Zapdos: 292-345 (76.2 - 90%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
+1 252 SpA Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 0 HP / 0 SpD Zapdos: 292-345 (90.9 - 107.4%) -- 43.8% chance to OHKO
252 SpA Zapdos Hurricane vs. +1 0 HP / 4 SpD Keldeo: 254-302 (78.6 - 93.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Tapu Koko Thunderbolt vs. +1 0 HP / 4 SpD Keldeo in Electric Terrain: 224-266 (69.3 - 82.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
+1 252 SpA Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 192 HP / 80 SpD Assault Vest Tornadus-Therian: 178-211 (51.2 - 60.8%) -- guaranteed 2HKO


Of course it is not without checks, depending on the game state, Tapu Koko, Tornadus-T, Dragonite, Zapdos, Zeraora, Rillaboom, Kartana, Tapu Lele, Urshifu can all take a hit and KO back, even though after one Calm Mind Keldeo turns the matchup into its favor against the special attackers, with the exception of Lele and Tornadus-T, by far its biggest nemesis. Secret Sword is also a bit weak at times, especially against the likes of Melmetal and Ferrothorn. Without substitute, then it is quite prone to being statused by the likes of Slowbro, Future Sight+Sludge Bomb Glowking, Gastrodon, etc. Without Taunt, Toxapex can also Haze indefinitely. Without Icy Wind, it is hopeless against Dragonite, and Garchomp can tank a hit and Scale Shot back.

Overall I find Keldeo to be very under the radar as it has a positive matchup against the most prominent threats in the metagame and deserves a bump in the B ranks.
 
:aegislash:A

the generation ends without Aegislash in OU.. I think it’s a shame, as the viability of this thing is through the roof. It’s an offensive tank, which, thanks to king shield recovery, can be very annoying to play against if you don’t have a Mandibuzz or Moltres-Galar.

:aegislash:
Aegislash @ Leftovers
Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 SpA
Quiet Nature
- Shadow Ball
- Shadow Sneak
- Close Combat
- King's Shield

Pros
+ offensive Pokémon that can checks lots of hard hitting moves, including the scariest choice moves in OU like Rillaboom wood hammer, lele psychic/moonblast, Draco meteor dragapult, etc.
+ 3hkos most bulky offensive Pokémon, 2hko most other offensive Pokémon, defensive Pokémon have to be weary of the 20% drops and free healing they provide Aegislash.
+ hard to switch into
+ easy to find switch in opportunities
+ mispredicts or misplays from the opponent often mean shadow ball can overwhelm the other team, or Aegislash heals up a lot, or both.

Cons
- item reliant, either relies on lefties for recovery, or spell tag for damage thresholds
- hates the knock off meta, and finding partners that can reliably switch into crawdaunt, Weavile and bisharp is basically impossible
- can cause game losing 50/50’s with kingshield mis predicts in front of a setup, such as against SD Weavile, Rillaboom, crawdaunt, Kartana, etc

if Mandibuzz and Galarian Moltres are a problem, pair it up with Tapu Koko, who appreciates a teammate that can switch into scarf Tapu Lele , and sometimes Rillaboom/dragapult/scarf Kartana - subject to predictions of course.

shadow ball spam is so ridiculously difficult to deal with, you basically only need 252 SpA. A 20% boosting spell tag can be added if stall is bothering you a lot, as it allows you to 2hko standard toxapex, and some variants of Hippodown, Gastrodon, Ferrothorn, etc, with a tiny bit of previous damage or hazards, but usually leftovers will suffice.

Shadow sneak is essential due to all the Pokémon that reach 1-20% after a few switch-ins to shadow ball and back out. There’s also some that get 2hko’d by the shadow ball + sneak double whammy, including SpD frail offensive types like Koko and Urshifu

Getting Aegislash in is as easy as 1, 2, slowbro. Slowking, dragapult, etc, are all other Pokémon’s that are easy to force out. If you’re good at reading patterns here, you’ve probably figured out who the best offensive partner is :

- :urshifu-rapid-strike: , especially the protective pads variants. U turns out of the slowbro that it baits in, and can absorb one knock off from crawdaunt (Crab hammer will ko it on the second attempt), or two from Weavile and Bisharp. Loves having a switch in partner for buzzwole, lele and Bulu.

Before you start the trading, or at least the dance of shadow ball/switch out.. think long term:

pair aegislash with “soft knock off” users, such as tornadus therain, these partners can reliably remove leftovers from would be checks like Clefable, Landorus, Ferrothorn, specially defensive Garchomp, toxapex, Hippowdon, heatran and Gastrodon. these Pokémon are a lost leftovers away from being shadow ball spammed into KO range

Usually once the primary check is no longer able to switch in, you get to take full asvantage

defensively, kings shield is great for scouting choice locked Pokémon, and Aegislash preys on those the most. Usually against teams with 2x or more choice users, Aegislash will feast by KOing or causing major HP loss to at least 2 other Pokémon before it faints.

king shield gets used a lot, which is why leftovers is so powerful, as checking a Pokémon like lele actually gives you up to three rounds of leftovers recovery!

- turn 1 switch into psychic
- turn 2 use shadow ball as lele switches out
- turn 3 use kings shield against the switch in, to prevent damage and heal the last 6.25%
^ totally that’s 18.75% of recovery.

with grassy terrain support, Aegislash can feel broken, adding soft threats like zapdos, Melmetal and EQ buzzwole to its reportoire of what it can switch into reliably (did you notice that all 3 are rock solid Rillaboom checks).

speaking of Rillaboom.. it’s also such an amazing switch into Rillaboom for the recovery if the Rillaboom user doesn’t use knock off on a prediction.

now the other fun part is Aegislash healing up on OUs shadow ball absorbers, typical scenario with toxapex below:

- turn 1 toxapex switches in to shadow ball, takes 37% , was on 80%, now on 43%, and doesn’t want to risk going down to 6%
- turn 2 toxapex takes 37% again, and users recover, now up to 69%, still in the danger one if it uses knock off next turn
- turn 3 toxapex takes 37% again, and can finally safely knock off on the next turn if it wants..
- turn 4 you safely use kings shield
^ totally that’s 25% healed!

each time these walls heal, there’s the chance of the SpD drop.. lol. There’s also the 50/50 mins games, where you can kings shield if you’re predicting the knock off for a tiny bit more health before you either switch out or choose to lose the leftovers.

On the defensive side of things, you’re able to reliably switch into:

- :Tapu lele: , nearly all sets
- :Hawlucha: , all common sets
- :Tapu Bulu: , all common sets
- :corviknight: , all common sets, although the rare 252+ SpD variants can actually afford the 20% SpD drops and will pressure away your shadow ball PP
- :slowbro: , nearly all sets, loves the ice beam/body press variant
- :ninetales-alola: , all sets
- :zapdos: , only fears heatwave or 252 SpA with rain support
- :buzzwole: any set that doesn’t pack EQ
- :Tapu-Koko: non specs boosted sets, usually best on a u turn or dazzle gleam
- :Blissey: any common set that doesn’t pack thunderwave
- :magnezone: almost all common sets
- :mew: the lead set can only guarantee rocks against lead aegislash, however turn 2 is a tough one, as you have to predict shadow sneak, or close combat for its bisharp partner
- :zapdos-galar: all common sets
- :cloyster: all common sets
- :nihilego: all common sets, watch out for the rare knock off

it’s no secret that the list of reliable switch ins above is extremely long for an offensive Pokémon, I think the second longest list in OU (for an offensive Pokémon) will likely be half the length, at best

who is second best for it anyway? Is it DD Dragonite? :dragonite:


There’s also the riskier switch ins like Dragapult, urshifu, Rillaboom, or Tornadus Therian.. once you’re in, you’re in!
 
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Hawlucha seems to do really well atm. Maybe this is due to more offensive teams popping as gen8 winds down, but I feel like the trend is here to stay this time round. Easily worth a spot in B+ imo. It's truly the embodiment of a 'sweeping for dummies' guide, when paired with terrain offence.

Zeraora continues to underwhelm and I feel a demotion to B should be considered. It generally needs too much help wearing down its checks and even then, it's kind of weak unless banded.. Taunt versions can slot in quite nicely on HO builds but overall this thing scares me about as much as a Ledian would.

Victini and Volcarona seem out of place in A-, I feel they are walled too easily and need considerable support in order to be worth a spot in teambuilder. They're just kind of risky picks in general even though they can do very well under the right circumstances.
B+ looks like a better fit to me considering this lack of 'splashability'.
 
10 days til Scarlet and Violet.

This has been a crazy run of SS being current gen, but like all things good or bad they have to come to an end. Thank you to everyone for making discussions about the OU Viability Rankings memorable. Anyways, here is my last hoo-rah for this thread.

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A- > A: There is no matchup where Rillaboom feels deadweight. Knock Off and strong priority are invaluable vs all archetypes. Most importantly the Grassy Terrain providing leftovers recovery for 5 turns making huge differences in matchups against Modest Pult and more. A surprising portion of OU staples have no reliable recovery besides lefties, so Grassy Terrain provides heavy backup for the likes of Melm/Tran/Ttar who have gotten even more potent near the end of the generation. An underrated aspect is Rilla’s ability to take at least one strong hit in a pinch from the likes of Urshifu, Ttar, and even Lele due to its natural bulk, while threatening back with Grassy Glide. Rilla went from a top pick to a somewhat forgotten piece of the metagame, and then back to a meta staple. No matter what, its versatility will be incredible regardless of whatever the meta shapes up to be a few years down the line.

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B+ > A-
Crazy good rn. People have been substituting Slowbro and Toxapex for other bulky waters lately and then they get cleaned up by the Blaziken they never prepped for. It has many alterations to its SD set that makes it both dangerous and unpredictable. SD Protect for example cteams those who rely on Scarf Lele or Kart to rkill it. Air Balloon punishes those who try to sack something to bring in Lando to rkill it, only to use it as setup fodder instead. LO hits so hard it sometimes doesn’t even need a setup to break half of all OU teams. Which wasn’t that much of a problem since it both has setup opportunities vs the likes of Weav, Rilla, Corv, Alolatales, and threatens KOs on several big targets because of its disgusting STAB combination and high dmg moves. It may not be Ubers anymore but Sword and Shield was a W moment for it.


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B+ > B
The more time goes on, the less reasons there are to use Zera over Tapu Koko. Koko does most of the same things as Zera, but has longevity. Too many things besides Lando can take a hit from it, making Knocking Lando harder, and people have been realizing that. Doesn’t help that other ground types have popped up to combat the electric types people are actually scared of. Pult running Modest more frequently lately also makes its godly speed tier less meaningful. It outspeeds Weavile but so does Koko. Scarf Lele and a few others are better for speed control as they are more immediate threats if left unchecked. Most people suspected it to fall in Crown Tundra due to Koko coming back, but it took a little longer for that to happen. Still a win for Zera.

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B > B+
Underrated menace. One of the best Lele switch ins in the tier while having some breaking power itself. It has many sets but the best rn imo is Specs. Most ghost checks lose to Modest Specs Sballs and CC making it a great alt to Blace as it also acts as a check to mons like Lele (again), utterly walls non-EQ Buzzwole. Has enough bulk to take a Lando EQ, Shifu Surging Strikes, Tran Magma Storm, and Melm EQ cause its so fat. Feels great to have Aegislash not be banned three times in a row.

CC085DC3-0363-46E6-A934-9A41279C94F8.png
C+ > B-
Confused as to why its down here when it has proven overtime to be far more than that. Being both an electric immune and a breaker makes Thundy a fantastic choice at crushing balance cores relentlessly. Thundy is so strong it 2HKOs Gastro and Blissey with Focus Miss. 101 speed is a good benchmark for outspeeding Shifu and Lele. Can switch into Torn (even with Knock) and Zapdos in a pinch. Being a rain mon that also OHKOs nearly every bulky water makes its synergy with Barra poetic. Thundy deserves better.

8425E301-C55B-418B-B1D3-3A966DD9A7E2.png
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C > C-
Clumping these three together cause Trick Room should be in C- anyways. It sucks but it is viable enough to warrant at least a ranking in the VR. Crumples to Protect, bad mu with one of the biggest threats rn (Melmetal), and highly mu fishy.

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C- > UR
Wtf does this thing do anymore? Outclassed by Tran and Zapdos. Zapdos can at least tolerate being Knocked, Molt becomes shit if it gets Knock’d. Offensively it doesn’t threaten things differently than Zapdos. Too much maintenance for a worse Zapdos/Tran hybrid.

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C- > UR
Another day of trying to get Toge UR’d. Goltres is way bulkier and fatter while also having some flinch hax. OU has no shortage of anti-stall options with Taunt Torn, Future Sight, Lele, Barb Clef, SD Kart, Ttar, Fini, etc. Air Slash flinch is funny doe.

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C- > C
I went through some character development and I can say Zarude…..Is not the worst thing in the world. Yes I am nomming it to C tier but C- to C isn’t much of a difference. Its a shit Dark resist but has some decent defensive utility in being able to pretty much sit on every bulky water. Sets up on Tankchomp, Ferro, Corv, Gastro, and Slowtwins. Its bulk is high enough to tank a hit from Ttar and threaten with Power Whip while also outspeeding shit with 105 speed. Its shit but its less awful shit.
 
I've made a post on the Personal VRs thread with my full thoughts, but I'll highlight the changes I feel most strongly about before the generation ends.

  • The top 5 is fine.
  • :slowking-galar: Slowking-Galar shouldn't be A+. It's a good mon for sure, and non-AV sets have gained usage recently, but it's not that easy to fit on offensive teams anymore when there's so many other better options, and a lot that takes advantage of it. I'd personally demote it to A-, or A at best.
    It was #24 in usage last month, and A+ lands it somewhere in the top 15, which I don't really think reflects its viability.
    Suggested change: A+ to A-
  • :zapdos: Zapdos should probably be S- by now. It was #5 in last month's usage, surpassing the likes of Ferrothorn and Weavile, and overall it's just taken over as the best electric. Maybe this is just a trend but imo, it fits on a wide variety of teams including semistall, balance, bulky offense, offense, rain and sand, and its ability to actually deal with Lando and Ferro is pretty valuable as an electric type compared to something like Koko or Zeraora. Not many mons can deal with Melmetal, Kartana, Rillaboom, Gapdos, and Urshifu all in one slot.
    Suggested change: A+ to S-
  • :corviknight: Corviknight shouldn't be A-. It's #14 in usage, which puts it right on the A+ threshold. Zone is pretty uncommon now, and just like Zapdos, it covers alot of annoying physical attackers in one slot, and fits on a wide range of teams. I suggest a promotion to either A+ or A at least.
    Suggested change: A- to A+
  • :gastrodon: Gastrodon is definitely not an A- mon. It was all the way down at #49 last month, and it only fits on less offensive team structures. Maybe this was a response to the Volcanion trend but this mon is definitely not deserving of the same tier as Corv and Fini.
    Suggested change: A- to B
  • :tapu-fini: Tapu Fini is like a really vital mon imo. #18 is surprisingly low imo, but that should still warrant at least A tier. It's like, a really good mon into Weavile, Pult and Shifu and the other Water/Fairies are kinda niche. I personally feel like this is a top 15 mon, so would put it in A+.
    Suggested change: A- to A+
  • :volcarona: Volcarona is kinda mid now. Heatran is pretty clearly the second best mon imo, Landos almost always seem to run spdef, Rocks+Knock is on like every team, and overall I just feel like it's hard to consistently win with Volcarona. Its defensive utility is mostly shared by Zapdos, its usage is down to #29 and it could be a high skill mon that I just don't get, and the fact that Fini is in the same tier as it might be clouding my judgement a bit, but I honestly still feel this should be ranked a bit lower.
    Suggested change: A- to B+
  • :arctozolt: Arctozolt is broken, this should not be anywhere near B tier. It deserves A- or A at minimum, and I still feel hail is the best weather rn.
    Suggested change: B+ to A
  • :moltres-galar: Moltres is scary on paper but it's really not that easy to fit, HO has so many brainless setup sweepers that don't rely on 70% accurate Hurricanes or praying you don't fight Clef. It's #52 in usage and should be demoted to B-, imo.
    Suggested change: B+ to B-
  • :blissey: Blissey sucks. It beats nothing longterm. It's a momentum drain and a noob trap.
    Suggested change: B to C+
  • :cloyster: Cloyster does not deserve to be B tier??? It's at #63 in usage and is outclassed by Blastoise and Polteageist. No idea how it got that high.
    Suggested change: B to C
  • :swampert: Swampert is great rn, pivoting on Lando, Corv, Zap, Fini and Tran, role compressing a Spdef Ground, a rocker, a bulky pivot and a bulky water all in one. It's down at #55 with Slowking rn but should be on its level, around B+.
    Suggested change: C+ to B+
  • :kommo-o: Kommo-o is a lot better than Cloyster and Goltres as a modern HO mon. Clangorous Soul, Dragon Dance, and SD Scale are all good. #58 shows it hasn't caught on yet, but C+ is still too low. If you're not convinced watch this: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-658431
    Suggested change: C+ to B
  • :dracozolt: Dracozolt is bad. Every Lando is spdef so Draco doesn't work, and I'd rather just use Excadrill if i'm trying to win.
    Suggested change: C+ to C-
Unrank:
  • :xatu: Will never be convinced of its stall niche. idc. Gets 0 usage and 0 bitches.
  • :azumarill: Her Belly Drum cheese doesn't work anymore. Rillaboom, Ferro, Pex, Zapdos, etc etc.
  • :avalugg: Unviable idk why this is here. If you wanna honour Omari give Mandi a rise or something.
  • :haxorus: No reason to use over broken Dnite or Pult. Super weak to Weavile Ice Shard.
  • :shuckle: Why is this guy still here. Webs are awful in gen 8.
Rank:
  • :arctovish: This guy is so broken fr where are his switchins?? Freezedry Fishious is unbeatable with Zone support. RMT coming soon. Maybe.
    Suggested change: UR to C+ (or C- at minimum lol i swear it's good i swear)
  • :umbreon: No idea how he's still not ranked. A super good cleric for fat teams, beats out a bunch of the lower tiers in usage like Dracozolt, Venusaur, Reuniclus and Keldeo. Definitely more influential on the meta compared to all the guys i suggested to unrank.
    Suggested change: UR to C
  • :lycanroc-dusk: Gets decent usage, and is basically just Terrakion (a C-tier) with priority and higher usage stats. Great sash lead for HO.
    Suggested change: UR to C
  • :chansey: Yeah I know I suggested a Blissey demotion earlier in the post. But Chansey's not a lot worse. This guy is #60 in usage and should probably be recognised for it on the VRs to warn the gen 8 players of the future. She's basically the same mon but with better bulk but vulnerability to Knock and hazards. Put her on double defog with Corv and she can do better than her older sister.
    Suggested change: UR to C
 
:slowking-galar: Slowking-Galar shouldn't be A+. It's a good mon for sure, and non-AV sets have gained usage recently, but it's not that easy to fit on offensive teams anymore when there's so many other better options, and a lot that takes advantage of it. I'd personally demote it to A-, or A at best.
It was #24 in usage last month, and A+ lands it somewhere in the top 15, which I don't really think reflects its viability.
Usage does not reflect viability and ladder is notoriously awful when it comes to using good mons, especially defensive mons. Galar Slowking not only has a wide range of sets, from AV to various trick varients (NP+trick, tricksludge, trickbarb) to physical defense sets. Its a resilient pivot that doesn't at all have the passivity issues of traditional pivots and is rather difficult to switch into.

:tapu-fini: Tapu Fini is like a really vital mon imo. #18 is surprisingly low imo, but that should still warrant at least A tier. It's like, a really good mon into Weavile, Pult and Shifu and the other Water/Fairies are kinda niche. I personally feel like this is a top 15 mon, so would put it in A+.
Fini is a fine mon that is simply stretched too thin. Its super knock bait as a result of switching into weavile, and losing its leftovers leaves it much less able to longterm check the things it gets put on a team for. It also seriously loses hard to Volcanion, not a mon you want to be giving free switches to.
 
Moltres is scary on paper but it's really not that easy to fit, HO has so many brainless setup sweepers that don't rely on 70% accurate Hurricanes or praying you don't fight Clef. It's #52 in
Nowadays people have realized Moltres doesn't really need to run hurricane. It can run it on rain, but rest nasty plot dark stab and agility is a perfectly valid set otherwise
 

Red Raven

I COULD BE BANNED!
Ladder usage is not and should not be the sole basis for a pokemon's viability. Just because a pokemon gets used a lot doesn't mean its that good. It can also mean that some people haven't caught up with the recent trends. People on the ladder often uses a lot of stupid shit and somehow win because some teams just can't handle those stupid shits. Why do you think a decision was made that pokemon will only drop thru the tiers and not rise? It's because some people were trolling and were legit trying to get Hitmontop into ou even though it would suck so bad here. In fact, tournament usage would probably be a more reliable source since everybody there is tryharding and are actually using the best of the best

:corviknight: Corviknight shouldn't be A-. It's #14 in usage, which puts it right on the A+ threshold. Zone is pretty uncommon now, and just like Zapdos, it covers alot of annoying physical attackers in one slot, and fits on a wide range of teams. I suggest a promotion to either A+ or A at least.
Suggested change: A- to A+
Heatran is the best pokemon in the tier rn. Corviknight can barely defog at all and while it has uturn, you only get worn down really fast. The pokemon that it's supposed to beat also carry coverage to beat it. Think of Garchomp often using fire fang or Tapu Lele using thunderbolt. As a steel type, it competes with Ferrothorn, who is incredibly obnoxious to deal with, and Melmetal, who is much less passive

:arctozolt: Arctozolt is broken, this should not be anywhere near B tier. It deserves A- or A at minimum, and I still feel hail is the best weather rn.
Suggested change: B+ to A
Arctozolt is fine where it is. It's not broken at all. The pokemon in B rank are those who are good in specific team styles, in this case being hail. The pokemon in the A ranks are those that are usually used to plug holes on your team. Hail being the best weather is highly debatable since its most common use to setup veil. Rain is also getting more common and Tyranitar is probably at the height of its threat since crown tundra. Arctozolt may be strong but it simply doesn't work anywhere outside of hail so it's fine where it is

:moltres-galar: Moltres is scary on paper but it's really not that easy to fit, HO has so many brainless setup sweepers that don't rely on 70% accurate Hurricanes or praying you don't fight Clef. It's #52 in usage and should be demoted to B-, imo.
Suggested change: B+ to B-
Normally I would agree with this given that hurricane can easily cost you the game, the problem is Moltres doesn't need to use that move unless it has to. It's job is simply to spam fiery wrath. Dark is simply a really good offensive type as both Tyranitar and Weavile have shown. Even Hydreigon can do something similar with the added bonus of u turn for momentum and flash cannon to destroy Clef

:kommo-o: Kommo-o is a lot better than Cloyster and Goltres as a modern HO mon. Clangorous Soul, Dragon Dance, and SD Scale are all good. #58 shows it hasn't caught on yet, but C+ is still too low. If you're not convinced watch this: https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/smogtours-gen8ou-658431
Suggested change: C+ to B
The problem with using that replay as basis is that you are absolutely not gonna pull that off on a consistent basis. I do agree that C+ is a bit low for Kommo but B is too high. B- would be good enough since it has a unique defensive quality of being able to check Kartana, Blacephalon, Heatran, Volcarona, Rillaboom and Volcanion all at once but it is absolute fairy bait. Offensive sets run the risk of just getting outsped by scarf Lele or getting hazed by Pex. Regardless, too many things plague its offensive capabilities but its defensive profile does warrant it a rise

:haxorus: No reason to use over broken Dnite or Pult. Super weak to Weavile Ice Shard
Bruh, the dude's a pure dragon type. It is vulnerable to ice shard but not as much as Garchomp or Dragapult . I'd say its even better than Dragonite because it outspeeds Tapu Lele, meaning you don't get revenge killed, and since neither dragons is gonna use a stab move, at least this guy has a massive attack stat to fire from. Oh, and it can single handedly rip stall apart if you really hate that playstyle

I'm not gonna comment on the rest since I probably agree with most of them

----

I also wanna add a couple noms in addition to my last ones

:heatran: to S

This thing's definitely the best pokemon right now. It can do pretty much anything you want it to do. Everybody knows what lava frog does and its even the most used mon in the last two weeks of scl

:hippowdon: to B+

Hippo has been gaining a lot of usage in scl and for good reason. It easily hard walls Zapdos, resets the weather and is incredibly obnoxious to take down. It can be a little passive but at least it's not complete setup fodder since it has access to whirlwhind

:landorus-therian: to S-

Kinda hot take but I've been thinking about LudwigFrog's nom a few days ago. As easy as Landorus is to put on a team, it's as easy to wear down and forces you to play at a faster pace that you might not want. It also doesn't have many great resistances since the resident fighting type just deletes it from existence. Often times its better to use spdef Garchomp or Hippowdon on your team because despite them lacking Landorus' swiss army knife movepool, they aren't as easy to wear down. The last two weeks of scl have even shown this with Lando no longer topping the usage. I really don't think that at this point, it's a tier above the likes of Heatran or Weavile
 
Usage does not reflect viability and ladder is notoriously awful when it comes to using good mons, especially defensive mons. Galar Slowking not only has a wide range of sets, from AV to various trick varients (NP+trick, tricksludge, trickbarb) to physical defense sets. Its a resilient pivot that doesn't at all have the passivity issues of traditional pivots and is rather difficult to switch into.
Obviously usage and viability don't always line up, but there's undeniably correlation between the two. Slowking-Galar's current ranking just does not reflect its current place in the metagame. One stall sample team uses it. A few bulky offense and balance teams manage to fit it. It's a good mon for the reasons you've described. But A+ is crazy, and the evidence just isn't there.

Fini is a fine mon that is simply stretched too thin. Its super knock bait as a result of switching into weavile, and losing its leftovers leaves it much less able to longterm check the things it gets put on a team for. It also seriously loses hard to Volcanion, not a mon you want to be giving free switches to.
That's a good point, to be fair, and I have seen that in practice, but I still stand by the slight promotion to A, at least.

Ladder usage is not and should not be the sole basis for a pokemon's viability. Just because a pokemon gets used a lot doesn't mean its that good. It can also mean that some people haven't caught up with the recent trends. People on the ladder often uses a lot of stupid shit and somehow win because some teams just can't handle those stupid shits. Why do you think a decision was made that pokemon will only drop thru the tiers and not rise? It's because some people were trolling and were legit trying to get Hitmontop into ou even though it would suck so bad here. In fact, tournament usage would probably be a more reliable source since everybody there is tryharding and are actually using the best of the best
Of course. I never claimed otherwise, but it's still a very important aspect in analysing viability, imo. It's a much bigger, less skill-reliant and bias data set. Like if none of the top players felt comfortable using Hurricane on Tornadus due to the risk of missing losing them a tour game, that wouldn't mean Hurricane Torn is unviable, just that it's not a preferred move atm.


Heatran is the best pokemon in the tier rn. Corviknight can barely defog at all and while it has uturn, you only get worn down really fast. The pokemon that it's supposed to beat also carry coverage to beat it. Think of Garchomp often using fire fang or Tapu Lele using thunderbolt. As a steel type, it competes with Ferrothorn, who is incredibly obnoxious to deal with, and Melmetal, who is much less passive
Yup Heatran is incredibly good atm and yeah it prevents Corv from fogging vs it. And obviously offensive teams run techs to break through common walls, but the fact that those are so common shows how much of an influence Corv has on the tier. But, unlike its competition, it's a Steel with actual reliable recovery, a ground immunity, and a pivot move. It's used as much as it is for a reason. A- is crazy for a mon like this.

Arctozolt is fine where it is. It's not broken at all. The pokemon in B rank are those who are good in specific team styles, in this case being hail. The pokemon in the A ranks are those that are usually used to plug holes on your team. Hail being the best weather is highly debatable since its most common use to setup veil. Rain is also getting more common and Tyranitar is probably at the height of its threat since crown tundra. Arctozolt may be strong but it simply doesn't work anywhere outside of hail so it's fine where it is
I disagree, Excadrill is right above it in A- which only really does well on sand. Same for Barraskewda and rain. Volcarona also requires super specific support. The support Arctozolt requires is literally just Alolatales, which is already a great mon. Hail is a super flexible playstyle where you can add a lot of mons for the last 4 slots. Arctozolt hail generally wins the rain matchup, and the Ttar matchup is by no means a lost cause either.

Normally I would agree with this given that hurricane can easily cost you the game, the problem is Moltres doesn't need to use that move unless it has to. It's job is simply to spam fiery wrath. Dark is simply a really good offensive type as both Tyranitar and Weavile have shown. Even Hydreigon can do something similar with the added bonus of u turn for momentum and flash cannon to destroy Clef
Yeah. Goltres not running Flying STAB is its best path going forward, but, as you've pointed out, there are a bunch of other offensive dark types that actually have coverage for their resists.

The problem with using that replay as basis is that you are absolutely not gonna pull that off on a consistent basis. I do agree that C+ is a bit low for Kommo but B is too high. B- would be good enough since it has a unique defensive quality of being able to check Kartana, Blacephalon, Heatran, Volcarona, Rillaboom and Volcanion all at once but it is absolute fairy bait. Offensive sets run the risk of just getting outsped by scarf Lele or getting hazed by Pex. Regardless, too many things plague its offensive capabilities but its defensive profile does warrant it a rise
I personally feel like its offensive sets are generally better and have potential far outside of my example of Grudge Pult HO, but since we agree on a rise I don't really feel the need to argue my point too much further.

Bruh, the dude's a pure dragon type. It is vulnerable to ice shard but not as much as Garchomp or Dragapult . I'd say its even better than Dragonite because it outspeeds Tapu Lele, meaning you don't get revenge killed, and since neither dragons is gonna use a stab move, at least this guy has a massive attack stat to fire from. Oh, and it can single handedly rip stall apart if you really hate that playstyle
Haxorus is nowhere near on the level of Dragonite, it has no recovery, no multiscale, no Ice Punch, no ground immunity, and worse bulk. Ice Shard especially hurts because it takes so much damage trying to set up. Its bulk is basically just Weavile with swapped spdef and def. There are a bunch of better stallbreakers that you can use over Haxorus so unless you're like running mono dragon, there's no reason to use him.
 
Obviously usage and viability don't always line up, but there's undeniably correlation between the two. Slowking-Galar's current ranking just does not reflect its current place in the metagame. One stall sample team uses it. A few bulky offense and balance teams manage to fit it. It's a good mon for the reasons you've described. But A+ is crazy, and the evidence just isn't there.
Of course. I never claimed otherwise, but it's still a very important aspect in analysing viability, imo. It's a much bigger, less skill-reliant and bias data set.
You say that A+ is crazy for SlowkingG but you haven't said why it should drop. How has it gotten worse/how has the meta negatively affected its viability?

Usage can be quite biased and thus not always accurate. A good example is the period of time Rillaboom was mediocre (B rank), yet it consistently remained high in ladder but low in tourney usage.

Yup Heatran is incredibly good atm and yeah it prevents Corv from fogging vs it. And obviously offensive teams run techs to break through common walls, but the fact that those are so common shows how much of an influence Corv has on the tier. But, unlike its competition, it's a Steel with actual reliable recovery, a ground immunity, and a pivot move. It's used as much as it is for a reason. A- is crazy for a mon like this.
Corv sits in A- not because teams specifically tech for it so it has become less effective, but because people realized how exploitable and passive it is..it can tend to be a fake check to a lot of things it is supposed to answer and spends a lot of time roosting, letting in dangerous mons.

I disagree, Excadrill is right above it in A- which only really does well on sand. Same for Barraskewda and rain. Volcarona also requires super specific support. The support Arctozolt requires is literally just Alolatales, which is already a great mon. Hail is a super flexible playstyle where you can add a lot of mons for the last 4 slots. Arctozolt hail generally wins the rain matchup, and the Ttar matchup is by no means a lost cause either.
Arctozolt needs more than just alolan ninetales support. If needs help getting past steels, and it is hampered by the common scarfers in Lele, Blacephalon and Kartana. All of which give hail grief. As for Excadrill, it can technically be used outside sand. And as I love hail, sand is undeniably the best weather in OU right now. Its placement is accurate.
 

Red Raven

I COULD BE BANNED!
I disagree, Excadrill is right above it in A- which only really does well on sand. Same for Barraskewda and rain. Volcarona also requires super specific support. The support Arctozolt requires is literally just Alolatales, which is already a great mon. Hail is a super flexible playstyle where you can add a lot of mons for the last 4 slots. Arctozolt hail generally wins the rain matchup, and the Ttar matchup is by no means a lost cause either.
As Moyashi had said, Arctozolt needs even more support than Excadrill does. Drill can also be used outside of sand and it will be good. The only problem is that Garchomp exists and is far more threatening in most scenarios. However, Excadrill does have a lot of perks like a quad rock resist, rapid spin and it completely blanks Koko and can turn Lele into spin fodder. The last one is crucial because it allows Drill to sweep outside of sand

Haxorus is nowhere near on the level of Dragonite, it has no recovery, no multiscale, no Ice Punch, no ground immunity, and worse bulk. Ice Shard especially hurts because it takes so much damage trying to set up. Its bulk is basically just Weavile with swapped spdef and def. There are a bunch of better stallbreakers that you can use over Haxorus so unless you're like running mono dragon, there's no reason to use him.
You do realize that breaking multiscale isn't that hard and once its broken, ice shard hurts Dragonite more than it hurts Haxorus right? And unlike Dragonite, Haxorus can do Garchomp's scale shot thing but not instantly die to Weavile and like Garchomp, Haxorus doesn't get revenge killed by Lele either. Dragonite is also very slow and with how easy it is to break multiscale, you just get revenge killed and because its stab combination sucks it's gonna need like two or three boosts to actually hurt, something you're not gonna get consistently against a decent player whereas Haxorus just clicks sd and starts scale shotting or it can go dd. CC, pjab and whatever the third move is is very threatening on Haxorus but the bottomline is as a sweeper, Garchomp is far better in most scenarios because of its powerful stab eq
 
View attachment 463489B > B+
Underrated menace. One of the best Lele switch ins in the tier while having some breaking power itself. It has many sets but the best rn imo is Specs. Most ghost checks lose to Modest Specs Sballs and CC making it a great alt to Blace as it also acts as a check to mons like Lele (again), utterly walls non-EQ Buzzwole. Has enough bulk to take a Lando EQ, Shifu Surging Strikes, Tran Magma Storm, and Melm EQ cause its so fat. Feels great to have Aegislash not be banned three times in a row.
:Aegislash: B -> B+/A- (Potentially)

Might just be my bias towards my favorite Pokémon, but I am totally on board with an Aegislash rise!
I'm not a fan of Specs Myself, as I found it doesn't improve many matchups that Aegislash struggles in, or already has a fair chance in, and just makes it more prediction reliant than it needs to be, I'm more of a Spell Tag type of person, but even with that, Aegislash proves itself to be an outstanding Pokémon for all kinds of Ghost Spam structures! Spell Tag/Specs Sets makes Aegislash a dangerous force on Ghost Spam, that also manages to bring some great defensive utility, Dragapult having something to fall back on VS Scarf Lele (which is becoming increasingly more common) without letting up offensive pressure will always be appreciated.
One of my personal favorite spreads consists of this

:Aegislash: Aegislash @ Spell Tag
Ability: Stance Change
EVs: 28 HP / 92 Atk / 248 SpA / 140 Spe
Quiet Nature
- Shadow Ball
- Flash Cannon
- Close Combat
- Shadow Sneak

This was my attempt to further optimize Aegislash's prolific wallbreaking prowess, while still retaining all of its great defensive utility, and I'd say I succeeded in that regard. Quiet + 140 Spe allows Aegislash to still Creep Corvi while still improving the Damage Rolls on their physical attacks, 28 HP Means Aegislash will never be 3HKO'd by Choice Scarf Tapu Lele's Psychic in Shield Form after Stealth Rock, and 92 Atk + Spell Tag allows Aegislash to OHKO Blacephalon from full with Shadow Sneak, to stuff out a Pokémon that could otherwise RK it in an emergancy, as well as further improving damage rolls with Close Combat against Pokémon like Ferrothorn, Blissey, Heatran, and Melmetal.

Aegislash has been a total monster when it comes to my Ghost Spam teams, and just that fact alone may have been enough to persuade me it needs a rise.

But that's not all oh no. Swords Dance sets have been making a comeback on Screens Hyper Offense Teams, which on those structures it's a perfect fit on. Its absolutely titanic bulk behind both Screens and its Trusty Shield give it plenty of easy set up oppertunities to go to town with its Ghost/Fighting Coverage + STAB Priority, this same bulk also allows it to run Weakness Policy almost perfectly, or even run a Double Dance Set with both Swords Dance and Autotomize in order to punish and overwhelm Offensive and Defensive checks alike! Swords Dance Aegislash also loves Toxapex falling out of favor for other Bulky Waters who have far more trouble checking it.

Finally, SubToxic, while not my favorite set, deserves a special mention for its ability to lure in and cripple would be checks like Hippowdon, Gastrodon, and Assault Vest Tornadus, which can be great for teammates like Dragapult or Blacephalon, who can already break past most other Ghost switch ins that Aegislash gives up the ability to with this set in favor of luring targets for teammates, as well as being a nuiscance for everything not named Corviknight to force out.

Overall, I totally agree with Aegislash being hugely underrated right now! It's most advantegous matchups are becoming increasingly more common, which allows it to be a great wallbreaker in the current metagame, that needs far more attention than it gets.
 
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sandaconda.png
UR -> C-/C


Sandaconda is a pokemon that is generally overlooked, mostly because it suffers from the comparison to (mostly) better grounds like Lando-T, Garchomp or Hippowdon. However, after playing with it for a bit, I feel like it has a few qualities that set it apart from other defensive grounds and may justify using it on certain teams.

The first and most relevant of these is access to one of Pokemon's most useful support moves; Glare. Glare is a normal-type move with 100% accuracy which inflicts paralysis, simple as that. It's a very free to click move in most situations since it can hit anything but electric types, and is a much more crippling status than Lando/Chomp/Hippo's usual Toxic, especially when playing against more offensive oriented teams as being paralyzed is often equivalent to being dead for a sweeper or breaker. While it can still be blocked by electric types, neither Zeraora, Koko nor Magnezone are able to stay in or threaten Sandaconda with anything, and are at risk of being KO'd should they mispredict and switch in on earthquake, which leaves Zapdos as the only mon able to prevent you from spreading paralysis effectively. All in all, it's a much stronger alternative to something like Thunder Wave or Stun Spore and was part of the reason Zygarde was so oppressive and had to be banned.

The second of those qualities lies in one of its abilities, Shed Skin. It grants its user a 30% chance to be cured from status at the end of each turn. Shed Skin is very rarely seen ability in OU, as it is very poorly distributed, Sandaconda being one of the only mons with the defensive statline to justify using it. In practice, it allows Sandaconda to win in the long run versus other status reliant defensive mons such as Tankchomp, Hippo, Toxapex, or even Chansey in the lategame just to state a few. Not fearing burn or toxic poisoning means that Sandaconda is a mon that is quite hard to make progress against defensively, which means that to force it out your opponents will have to expose one of their breakers or sweepers to glare, which as mentioned earlier, are completely ruined by paralysis. This ability also helps turn Rest into a semi-reliable recovery move, as you have good chances to wake up immediately after using it, or only after 1 turn, which makes Sandaconda more durable in the long run than Tankchomp and Landorus-T. The set I've been running lately which as convinced me that this mon could have a niche in OU is a set that uses this ability:

sandaconda.png
Sandaconda @ Leftovers
Ability: Shed Skin
EVs: 252 HP / 252 SpD / 4 Spe
Careful Nature
- Rest
- Glare
- Stealth Rock
- Earthquake

Overall, a pretty reliable defensive rocker, which can check a variety of mons such as Heatran, Volcarona, Tapu Koko, Zerarora, Slowking-Galar, Tyranitar, Excadrill, Dracozolt, and to a lesser extent Blacephalon and Dragapult. It's job is mostly to get rocks up and spread paralysis, being able to come in safely against defensive or utility mons like Ferrothorn, Clef, the aforementioned defensive ground trio, Corviknight, Tornadus-T, Chansey/Blissey. I prefer running specially defensive EVs as the team I was using it with was pretty weak to pult, but a physically defensive set would also be reasonably conceivable, further reinforcing's Sandaconda's already impressive base 125 physdef and allowing it to take on other mons, although its type makes it less desirable for that role, mostly because Weavile, Urshifu-R and Kartana all can hit it with a supereffective STAB.

Sandaconda's other viable ability Sand Spit is also worth mentioning, although I have tested it far less extensively than the set show above. It's an ability which starts a Sandstorm after its user is hit by a damaging move. This allows Sandaconda to fill the role of a secondary sand setter in a sand team, and when equipped with an Eject Button, it can force a momentum gain on your side by starting Sand and immediately pivoting into Excadrill or Dracozolt, especially if sent out on an opposing u-turn. Here's the set I used when testing this variant:

sandaconda.png
Sandaconda @ Eject Button
Ability: Sand Spit
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 Spe
Impish Nature
- Earthquake
- Coil/Stealth Rock
- Rest/Glare
- Rock Slide/Body Press/Sleep Talk

This time, I'm running a physdef set, because being on a sand team means being coupled with either Hippowdon or Tyranitar, which are both more capable at taking special hits. This set also can run Coil and Rest, which gives it the potential to sweep late game once opposing special attackers have been dealt with or sufficiently crippled. I won't go to great length describing this one, as I haven't tested it as much as the other variant, but I've generally had a good experience with it, especially with the Sand Spit + Eject Button combo allowing you to go for very aggressive plays as it guarantees a safe pivot into your desired sand sweeper.

As customary, here are a few replays demonstrating Sandaconda being used in practice (all of these demonstrate the first set, not the Sand Spit one). While all of these show Sandaconda being used on a pretty unserious team, they were all recorded at a pretty significative elo and do a good job of showing Sandaconda's usefulness indepently from its teammates. As such, I would like you to not make comments about the team as if claiming it somehow invalidates the work put in by Sandaconda in these replays, as that would simply be faulty logic.


If you've made it this far, thanks for your time, hope you had a good read and have a nice day :)
 
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