Tuesday, February 4, 2014

January stats: Welcome your new Charizard overlords

Yep, we got our first batch of post-Bank usage stats, and what immediately jumps at one's eyes is CHARIZARD AT NUMBER SIX. The scary thing is, BOTH of its mega evolutions can be credited for that massive leap. Mega Charizard X is often mentioned as a nightmare to face, what with its STABbed, Tough Claws-boosted Flare Blitz and Outrage, but its Y counterpart is actually slightly more popular. And I can't blame anyone using it, either. STAB Drought-boosted Flamethrower/Fire Blast, STAB Air Slash, and Drought-boosted Solar Beam off this ginormous special attack stat? Why the heck not? So instead of putting up with a crappy Pokémon without even knowing it, the little kiddies get a choice between two nigh unstoppable forces. Wonderful.

Aside from that... holy shit Rotom-W's lead over the rest of the field is huge. Nothing else can get over 16%, but Rotom-W? Just shy of 22.5%. And keep in mind, this is a former big rain abuser that has no rain to help it anymore. Sweet baby Jesus on a pogo stick. Aegislash is still holding on at #2, which gives me the opportunity to ask: would it have been uber last gen? In gen 6 Ghost/Steel is weak to both Ghost and Dark, which were neutral last gen. Just like that you just doubled its amount of weaknesses. Steel/Psychics have the same issue, and they suffered tremendously. Aegislash, though, doesn't seem to give a fuck. Of course its hypothetical gen 5 tiering wouldn't have been set in stone, since just about every ban had to do with weather in some way, but that's something to think about.

Also, gotta love how Genesect outranks Lucario, despite there being not nearly as much of a consensus for it in the ongoing suspect test. Just how good is Mega Lucario? Well, over 90% of all Lucarios have the Lucarionite. At first glance this is perfectly normal because Mega Lucario vastly outdoes its vanilla form in every way, but remember, you can only have one mega evolution. This basically means that running regular Lucario with another mega evolution is almost never done. It's all or nothing with this bad boy. And while we're on the subject of suspect testing, where is Deoxys-E, you ask? #69, not even close to the OU cut-off line. Yeah, pretty sure I see a BL tiering in its near future should that trend keep up. Mega Gengar's ban really shook things up for the species' use, with a measly #20 (measly by Gengar's standards at least).

When news of the weather nerf broke back in early October, I thought Venusaur's time in OU was done for, mega evolution or not. That #18 ranking definitely proves me wrong. Thick Fat is just that much of a perfect fit on it, leaving only two weaknesses to Psychic and Flying. Increased defenses also go great with Giga Drain, and it actually has a good reason to use Sludge Bomb now.

Mandibuzz is our HUGE BREAKOUT star this month, going up from #96 in November to #19 in January (remember, December's stats were unreliable for various reasons, hence why I'm not bringing them up). Yeah, the Defog buff definitely helped, but that alone couldn't be the cause, since Defog used to be an HM, which means a pretty good learnbase. No, it's another move that Mandibuzz only obtained with X/Y that really seals the deal: Foul Play. It's an absolutely perfect Pokémon for it, with massive defenses and worthless attack. If you told me, just a month ago, that Mandibuzz would be more used than Gengar, I would've laughed you right out of here.

Breloom went from top 10 threat to mid-OU. Yes, it's still a very respectable #28 despite everything that happened to it. Spore doesn't work on Grass-types anymore, Low Sweep is no longer compatible with Technician, and worst of all Talonflame is now a thing. This last one resulted in a rise in Focus Sash use, but it still hurts like hell.

As for Trevenant, it lost some steam since November, but it's still going strong at #34. Popular moves on it have changed a great deal: Shadow Claw, Substitute and Curse saw a great drop in use (shame, it was awesome to see Ghost-type Curse do something for a change), while Will-O-Wisp and Horn Leech replaced them in order to stop the likes of Tyranitar and Scizor from threatening it.

Smeargle looks all set to return to OU, as it's one of the best users of Sticky Web, along with Galvantula, who's riding the OU train as well. Looks like Gamefreak knew what they were doing when making this move and giving it to certain Pokémon.

Clefable is still holding on as well, which really suggests adding the Fairy type to anything will instantly propel it to new heights. Of course it started from far behind because mono-Normal was just terrible, but to be fair I always had a soft spot for it due to its versatility.

Another unexpected guest is chilling around the OU cut-off line: Bisharp. Yes, Bisharp. It took some time for people to discover its true power, as it was still well off the top 100 in November, but it really is a vastly improved Pokémon. Perhaps the most important aspect is the fact that Steel no longer resists Dark, which results in greatly improved STAB coverage, as it no longer needs a Fighting move to beat Steel-types - most notably Aegislash, which it counters quite effectively. This allows it to run a set with Swords Dance, Sucker Punch, Iron Head and Knock Off, which is bog standard on this guy. Iron Head also murders Fairies, and choiced Talonflame hates it when locked into Brave Bird, because you know a Swords Dance is coming. (Edit: Forgot to mention, Defiant got an enormous buff by virtue of Sticky Web and Defog triggering it, and, well, Sucker Punch doesn't really care about the speed drop either way.)

So we got the likes of Mandibuzz, Trevenant, Clefable and Bisharp making their niche into OU, on top of numerous other expected newbies and megas. And something's got to give... what's stuck outside of the OU cut-off line this month? First is Thundurus-I, which was uber last gen. Man, the loss of rain REALLY hurt it, didn't it? Then we have perennial bulky Water Vaporeon, which just isn't cutting it anymore, it seems. Latias is also going away, especially with Latios struggling more and more itself. Remember when Latias was suspect tested late in gen 4 and it was deemed overpowered? Things change FAST in this game. Terrakion was a popular subject of conversation in gen 5 OU... it'll be one in gen 6 UU by the looks of it.

Further down we have Hydreigon, Landorus-I, Jirachi, Deoxys-E, Kyurem-B, Jellicent, Metagross, Celebi, Keldeo (who was the target of the last suspect test last gen IIRC), Deoxys-LG... the list goes on and on and on. Former weather abusers were especially crippled, with Manaphy, one of gen 5's first bans, just barely making the top 100. Speaking of weather, Politoed still ranks at a decent #74 despite the nerf. I liked to say that if it remained OU, it'd be proof that it should've been banned all along. Do you think #74 is good enough to prove that point?

Oh, random thought: despite only one Pokémon breaking the 16% mark, only 49 Pokémon meet the criteria for being OU, which is a few less than last gen, which had a metagame overcentralized around weather. I can't decide whether it's good or bad.

As for ubers, Xerneas is no longer found on over half of all teams - that honor is exclusively reserved for Arceus, to no one's surprise. And if you ever needed proof of just how many dragons lurk in ubers, Fairy ended up within a hearbeat of being Arceus' second most popular type, falling barely short of Ghost and Steel. No doubt if Xerneas wasn't around, Fairy Arceus would be crazy popular. Enough to compete with Normal? Who knows?

Mewtwo remains #3 (combining all Arceus' forms), as should be expected of a Pokémon with two great megas. With Mega Mewtwo Y's ability to hit through physical defense with Psystrike, I'm still a bit surprised Mega Mewtwo X isn't totally obsoleted. I suspect STAB Drain Punch has a lot to do with it, as it's by far Mewtwo's most used physical move.

Behind it, Kyogre still holds on to the title of "best of the rest", because even though endless rain isn't a thing anymore it can still abuse five turns of rain pretty well itself. Groudon, on the other hand, suffered greatly, ending up at #9... behind both Blaziken and Ho-Oh. Kangaskhan's ban in OU really opened the way for its discovery in ubers, where it outranks terrors such as Dialga, Rayquaza, Deoxys-FR and Palkia. Kinda puts that ban in perspective, am I right?

Final thought for ubers: some of its players aren't exactly bright sparks. 6% of Blazikens have Blaze, 10% of Ho-Ohs and 28% (!!!) of Lugias have Pressure (true, Defog is illegal with Multiscale, but Defog only gets 4% usage anyway), 9% of Scizors don't have Technician (which is a LOT more than those who don't have Bullet Punch)... yeesh.

So that's it for this wall of text. Ciao!


  1. Last gen I thought Galvantula was a really cool pokemon, but now I can't stand seeing it because of my burning passionate hatred for sticky web.

  2. Bisharp also rose so much because Defiant is a much better ability this gen, thanks entirely to Sticky Web. Have it switch in when Sticky Web is up on your field and it gets an instant +2. Plus, the lowered speed isn't much of an issue for something that was already notorious for Sucker Punching everything to death last gen. Contrary pokemon are in a similar vein, getting a free speed boost alongside the positive buffs from Superpower or what have you. Competitive, on the other hand, just doesn't have any spectacular users. We have Milotic, which prefers Marvel Scale, Meowstic, which prefers either Male with Prankster or Female with Infiltrator, and Wigglytuff, which is still just a blob. Maybe if a Competitive user got Vacuum Wave, it would be a viable ability. But nope, Primeape has it, but it gets Defiant instead!

    Regarding the tiers, I feel like they need to either make another new tier this gen, or they need to widen the cutoff margin for OU. Maybe expand BL into its own tier between OU and UU or something. It's probably just the power creep at work, but threats like Keldeo, Jirachi, Landorus and Hydreigon dropping down to UU just feels *wrong*. I get that the reason they're so low is because there's not enough room in OU, but really? Jirachi of all things getting the shaft? Never thought I'd see the day!

    1. Sorry, completely forgot to mention Defiant. As for Competitive users, to be fair, they only don't look appealing because at the end of the day, less than 10% of teams even use Sticky Web, and aside from that the only consistent purpose is to mess with Intimidate users. (Of course random Moonblast/etc. hax happens from time to time, but you can't rely on that.)

      And to be fair, people were going ballistic when Heracross eventually got demoted back in gen 4, but now it not being OU is absolutely normal. The same thing happens every gen, really, and we just get used to it.

    2. The point I was trying to make with the Defiant thing was more that Defiant users can actually make up for the speed drop from Sticky web, unlike Competitive users, while still getting an instant +2 every time they switch in (which, if the opponent actually runs the hazard, is more consistent than hoping to catch an Intimidate user they might be running on switch-in). Bisharp has Sucker Punch, Purugly has Fake Out and Quick Attack, and even Empoleon has Aqua Jet. Even if Sticky Web were as widespread as Stealth Rock, none of the Competitive users have special priority, so Defiant users simply have more to gain from abusing it. As a side note, Defog is a move that both Defiant and Competitive users enjoy seeing, since it counts as an evasion debuff while also sweeping the field of hazards. Seeing as these two moves were extremely hyped at the beginning of sixth gen, both would naturally cause pokemon like Defiant users to become more popular since they can easily punish the opponent for using those moves.

      That being said, Bisharp likely saw a lot more use than the other Defiant users because all the other reasons you mentioned (the steel nerf, the fairy weakness to it, the Knock Off buff, etc.) gave Bisharp much more of an edge (unintentional pun), with the fact that it can benefit from two of the more-hyped moves of sixth gen being a mere added bonus.

  3. To be fair with Pressure Lugia, Multiscale and Defog are incompatible.

    1. Even so, Defog is only used by 4% of Lugias.

    2. On the subject of that, and pretty much everything you mentioned that's similar to this situation...
      My first guess would be a brain fart on the player's part.
      Pressure is the default ability for Lugia and Ho-Oh on Showdown, so the players may just have forgotten to switch it before heading into a battle. And stuff like that happens. I remember one time it completely escaped me give my Gliscor a Toxic Orb and I gave it Leftovers overs instead. And on another occasion I forgot to give one of my Pokemon an item altogether, so I'd completely understand forgetting to switch the abilities. Course, after my first battle in each of those instances I immediately changed them, though one could go a few battles without realizing or remembering to fix the mistake.
      This also applies to the other instances you mentioned too. Scizor's default ability is Swarm and Blaziken's default ability is Blaze.
      This wouldn't dismiss ALL of the players I'm sure, but I'm sure for many it was simply forgetfulness, so the stats would be skewed in this case.
      Even so, that Lugia statistic is just...I don't even...there's either a lot of forgetful people or a lot of stupid people playing Ubers...or both...

  4. When it comes to Lugia, Multiscale isn't always the best ability. Sure it's an amazing ability, but Pressure is just as useful. Lugia is fast for a wall, so it can use a combination of substitute and Roost to stall out strong moves with little PP, such as Zekrom's Bolt Strike and Groudon's Stone Edge. This is a lot easier to do with Pressure. Also, Substitute and Pressure have a lot of synergy together. People are also inclined to use something like Toxic against Lugia, and such a move would make Multiscale almost useless. It's down to player preference I believe.

    That said, using Pressure on Ho-oh when Regenerator is available is pretty silly.

  5. Mandibuzz had Foul Play in 5th gen. It was a tutor move.

    On Talonflame, it's rather funny that a run-of-the-mill Pokémon (no BS above 85 save for Speed) with two conflicting STABs and a massive Stealth Rock weakness becomes one of the most used Pokémon in the game thanks to priority Brave Bird.

    Glad to see Charizard up there. It's always had all the tools it needed to wreck havoc, but not the stats nor the typing to back it up.

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