Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Competitive Battling Spotlight #22: Updated Tiers

        The usage statistics for the month of September 2011 have been released, and there are some very notable changes to each tier. Namely, a number of Pokemon have dropped and risen, giving way to a presumably new metagame. OU saw not much change, with Espeon and Celebi moving up from BL and UU respectively, while the most notable new addition is the anti-metagame slug, Gastrodon. UU saw the most changes, with a whopping 13 Pokemon added, having either fallen or risen from OU or RU respectively. Here is a rough summary of what's new. Let the speculation begin!

The Top Tier threats

        OU, as I've said, hasn't changed too much at all. Its three additions, Celebi, Espeon and Gastrodon, were seen coming from miles away, and I don't think any of these will drastically change the metagame at all, considering they all saw abundant Standard use before this month's results. No, I think if any drastic change will come it will happen this month, with the potential ban of the tier's arguably most destructive threat, Thundurus.

Fallen Warriors and Struggling Heroes; a New Underused Perspective 

        Definitely the most changed tier, UU has added a massive thirteen members to its roster; about half from OU and the rest from RU. I think each one of these Old-OUs will have a lot to bring to the table in UU, and some of them will no doubt command the full spotlight from the current Top Five.

        Support has a whole new name 
        Whimsicott was one of the most used Pokemon when Black and White were new, but it has since seen a massive decline in usage, thanks to its subpar defenses and lack of full recovery. Otherwise, it has always been at the peak of all Support Prankster abusers, and with priority  Sub-Seeding and Taunt, it can redefine annoying Grass type, giving Roserade and Sableye some quite needed competition. 
  On another note, Blastoise and Umbreon, two supreme bulky threats that previously bolstered many RU teams, have joined the already large amount of Walls in UU, each boasting their own share of usability factors. Blastoise combines great bulk with good defenses and a nice typing, as well as Rapid Spin, to serve as a different form of Defense for teams used to Empoleon and/or Donphan. Umbreon, on the other hand, abuses Wish-Passing and Heal Bell support to serve as a decent Dark type counterpart to Blissey (with both better and worse aspects). 

      Cresselia and Porygon 2 also join the ranks as two extremely bulky Pokemon with a great amount of Support and stall options that I think will help to further balance out the tier, while giving Chansey and Registeel some much needed backup, while the addition of Hippowdon and Rhyperior will allow for bulky offense, and more particularly UU Sand Teams, to shine more brightly. Overall, the future is looking steady for Defensive teams in UU.

        Powerhouse Punishment

        If you think Stall is looking as prominent as ever for the Underused metagame, you might want to consider the new offensive baddies in the tier. Machamp and Darmanitan make primed appearances, after having been outclassed in OU for so long. With not many Physical threats that can hit at all as hard as these two in UU, be sure to be packing some extra Physical bulk with these two having been let loose. Likewise, Chandelure, with its devastating base 145 Special Attack and great offensive typing, makes an appearance as easily one of the most prominent Special threats ever to be seen here. Though Blissey, and likely Blastoise and Umbreon, will keep it in check as notable Special Walls, it is safe to say that A LOT of things are not going to enjoy taking a STAB Overheat from a Specs Chandelure. Keep your eyes peeled for this as well as Scarf and SubCM sets. Golurk also makes a nice addition to the tier, as with its unique typing and great offensive presence, it Chandelure easily become two very potent Spin Blockers, adding a nice range of selection in this tier. 

        Lastly, I'd like to take a moment to consider the final two new UU additions, Stoutland and Tornadus. With Hippowdon and Hippopotas both as very usable Sand Streamers, along with an army of great Sand abusers/supporters in the tier, it is quite easy to envision Stoutland as the mini-Excadrill of this tier. In other words, expect Sandstorm to be very common in the common months, thanks to the addition of Stoutland (and let's not forget Magic Guard Zam).
        Furthermore, Tornadus is a hyper-offensive beast just waiting to take command of a metagame that it easily outspeeds, overpowers, and generally outsmarts. So Chansey can switch into that super-powerful Hurricane? Not with an unexpected Hammer Arm forthcoming! Tornadus, while entirely outclassed by its brethren Thundurus in OU, has everything it needs to be a serious problem for many unprepared UU teams. It could use a little more coverage options, but for now I think he is the silent secret weapon that every offensive team has been looking for.

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