Xatu is the most dominant and defining Pokemon in GSC NU, and a centralizing force that shapes how teams are played and structured so much that it is an almost automatic inclusion on teams. Xatu has an almost completely exclusive Psychic-typing, and Psychic STAB is very scarcely resisted in GSC NU, only being commonly resisted by Magnemite and opposing Xatu. This combined with an incredible 95 Speed and Special Attack make it an immediately threatening offensive powerhouse that targets many popular Pokemon including Weezing, Primeape, Hitmonlee, Gloom, and most crucially, Xatu is one of the few Pokemon able to safely defeat Kingler. Xatu's main STAB move, Psychic, also has a nasty 10% chance to drop Special Defense, which can let Xatu potentially even break through its checks such as Ninetales and Azumarill. Base 95 Speed means it also outspeeds a vast majority of the metagame, meaning the opposing Pokemon will likely have to take two hits just trying to switch into Xatu, which can be capatlized by Xatu's teammates if the opposing Pokemon is forced to Rest, which is all further compounded by Spikes. Xatu highly appreciates the prominence of Spikes, since most Flying-types are not very reliable Xatu answers since all except Fearow are slower and weak to the common Hidden Power Ice from Xatu. In addition, its immunity to Spikes, and resistance to other common moves in the metagame such as Earthquake and Cross Chop, give it good opportunities to switch in throughout a game even with its seemingly unimpressive bulk. It also possesses the rare Haze, making it a useful option for combating setup sweepers such as Lickitung and Kingler.
However while Xatu is quite strong, Pokemon such as Dewgong, Ninetales, and Wigglytuff can switch into its attacks fairly easily and threaten it in return. All teams will usually have a realiable switch into Xatu, such as Magnemite or Octillery on offensive teams or the many bulky Pokemon such as Azumarill or Ninetales on defensive teams, which can hurt its ability to make progress if it doesn’t get Special Defense drops. Furthermore it’s defensive stats aren't particularly amazing, so Pokemon such as Fearow, Ninetales, or coverage from Pokemon such as Primeape and Dugtrio can break through it. Despite this, Xatu stands tall on its totem pole as the single best Pokemon in the metagame, and every team must have an answer to Xatu to be viable.
move 1: Psychic
move 2: Hidden Power Ice / Drill Peck / Haze
move 3: Rest
move 4: Sleep Talk
This is Xatu's most common set by far, and is splashable on just about any team. It can do well in almost every state of the game, acting as an early game wallbreaker, checking a dangerous Pokemon such as Weezing, or acting as a lategame cleaner. Psychic is mandatory STAB, and is what makes Xatu so threatening. Hidden Power Ice is the most common move in the second slot due to its ability to hit opposing Xatu, which is very useful considering Xatu's can face off commonly due to Xatu itself being one of the few Psychic resists in the metagame. This also gives it a better matchup against Dugtrio when sleeping, as it has a guaranteed good Sleep Talk pull against the moles. Drill Peck doesn’t have very good coverage, but is useful as a secondary STAB move, and notably gives Xatu a guaranteed good Sleep Talk pull against Pokemon such as Stantler, Primeape, and can also help against Houndour. Haze is only really seen on defensive teams, but is very useful for combating setup sweepers, notably Swords Dance Lickitung and Kingler, while also being a major pain for Baton Pass teams. Finally, Rest and Sleep Talk are crucial for letting Xatu stick around for longer in games while still retaining its high damage output, and also means it is able to shrug off status.
With Xatu being the most common and splashable Pokemon in the tier, it is extremely flexible there are many good teamates for it. Pineco is an excellent partner for Xatu due to its ability to setup Spikes, maximising pressure that Xatu deals throughout a game while Pineco can Explode on a Xatu answer such as Dewgong to help the bird out. Thief from Pokemon such as Magmar, Dugtrio, and Stantler is another great way of maximising pressure that Xatu can emit, especially when paired with Spikes. Water-types such as Chinchou, Octillery, and Azumarill are able to serve as checks to Fire-types such as Ninetales and RestTalk Rapidash that are good Xatu answers, while also checking Sudowoodo, Pupitar, and Azumarill and Octillery are good Dugtrio checks. Xatu can also check threats to these Water-types such as Hitmonlee and Gloom. Xatu struggles with Bulky-Water types, Magnemite, and Ninetales, so Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan make great partners for it, and can deal with Poison-types that might try to check the fighters. Dugtrio is a fantastic offensive partner for Xatu, dealing with traditional Xatu checks such as Houndour, Magnemite, and Ninetales. Primeape forms a fierce offensive combo with Xatu, wearing down the opponent's offensive core by beating each other's checks, such as Weezing for Primeape and Dewgong for Xatu. Weezing can relieve pressure off of Xatu to check Primeape in games, and Xatu can switch into Ground-attacks aimed at Weezing, while Weezing can use Fire Blast on its set to obliterate Magnemite and remove a Xatu answer with Explosion. Fire-types such as Magmar and Rapidash make good offensive partners for Xatu, as they both are difficult to wall and can deal with each other’s checks, such as Fire-types dealing with Magnemite.
RestTalk Haze Xatu is a great Pokemon on defensive teams. They oftentimes have poor matchups against one of the best Pokemon in the tier in Kingler, who Xatu is a fantastic answer to. It can also be a major pain for Baton Pass teams, which defensive teams can struggle to stop unless they have an Encore Shuckle, although Xatu should watch out for +2 Return from Farfetch’d.
Xatu can make very good use of a Thief set with Psychic, Hidden Power Ice, Haze and Thief, which can greatly annoy the longevity of usual Xatu answers such as Dewgong and Ninetales thanks to Thief, while also providing excellent support from Haze. However, the longevity of reliability of RestTalk sets is can be hard to pass up a lot of the time. Using Sunny Day and Solar Beam is a very useful option for hitting answers to Xatu such as Water-types and Pupitar, while reducing the accuracy of Thunders aimed at Xatu while having synergy with Fire-types and weakening Water-attacks. Night Shade is a hard to fit option, but it has the niche of 3HKOing Shuckle, who can be a major pain for offensive teams Xatu is commonly on.
Checks and Counters
**Specially-bulky Pokemon**: Dewgong is the best Xatu answer in the metagame, as Xatu only has very low odds to 4HKO Dewgong with Psychic, while Dewgong always 2HKOs in return with Ice Beam. Ninetales outspeeds Xatu, can only be 4HKOed at best by Psychic, and has good odds to 3HKO with Flamethrower. Pupitar is a good check, as it is not guaranteed to be 3HKOd by Psychic and threatens Xatu with Rock Slide, although it should watch for SunnyBeam sets and be weary of Special Defense drops. Wigglytuff only gets 4HKOed by Psychic, and can threaten a 2HKO with Thunder, or threaten with Curse boosted attacks. Flareon doesn’t have longevity to answer Xatu long term unless running RestTalk, but is a good early game switch that threatens a 2HKO with Fire Blast. Azumarill is able to pivot into Psychic, and setup Light Screen for its teamates to deal with Xatu easier, however, it should be noted that Azumarill can not defeat Xatu one-on-one if it lacks Ice Beam due to Surf only 5HKOing. However, these Pokemon are all susceptible to being broken through if Xatu gets lucky with Special Defense drops.
**Electric-types**: Magnemite is an amazing Xatu answer, resisting all of its common attacks and threatening a potential OHKO with Thunder. Chinchou isint a very reliable answer due to it being 3HKOed by Psychic, but still works if it can switch into Hidden Power Ice, Drill Peck, or Rest, and can support its teamates with Light Screen and 2HKO with Thunder. Flaaffy is not very common in the metagame, but works as a Xatu check due to Light Screen, decent bulk, and ability to 2HKO with Thunder.
**Dark-types**: Houndour completely counters Xatu if it is running not running Drill Peck, being immune to Psychic chipping Xatu for huge damage with Pursuit as it flees. Sneasel is immune to Psychic, outspeeds Xatu, and threatens with Ice Beam, while it can keep itself healthy with Moonlight. However, both of these Pokemon should watch out for Drill Peck
**Faster Pokemon**: These Pokemon are good at revenge killing Xatu. Dugtrio is a decent offensive answer to Xatu, outspending and 3HKOing with Rock Slide, and can potentially flinch to put it in a bad spot. Dugtrio can also Substitute up on a predicted Rest from Xatu. However, Dugtrio is 3HKOd by Psychic and Hidden Power Ice so it should be careful. Fearow and Persiah outspeed Xatu and deals heavy damage to it with Double Edge, and Persian is also able to threaten Xatu with Hypnosis. Rapidash outspeeds Xatu and can revenge threatens to almost 2HKO with Fire Blast; RestTalk variants have an even better matchup vs Xatu. However, these Pokemon should try to avoid switching directly into Psychic.
**Strong attackers**: Octillery is a Pokemon commonly used on offensive teams for its ability to act as a good answer to Xatu, putting pressure on Xatu with its attacks while being a decent switchin. Magmar 2HKOes Xatu with its powerful Fire Blast, and can trade hits with the bird fairly well, while also being able to Thief Xatu. Lastly, Sudowoodo 2HKOes Xatu with Rock Slide, but it needs to be careful since its 3HKOed by Psychic.
**Paralysis**: Despite Xatu very commonly running RestTalk, paralysis can still be annoying for it. If paralysed, Pokemon that struggle to break through Xatu such as Primeape, Stantler, and Kingler have a much easier time breaking through Xatu. Non RestTalk variants are also ruined by paralysis.
- Written by: [[Holly, 508601]]
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