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The Serebii Journal April 2015 Edition

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Welcome to the Serebii Journal's April Issue. The journal has now been rebooted and will be here to stay with monthly issues!

Table of Contents
Leftovers Numbers and when not to use them
A Brief Summary of ORAS Suspect Tests
Underrated Pokemon in Overused Tier #1: Granbull
Introduction to RarelyUsed
Interview #1 With BGP_
Interview #2 With Psynergy

Jesusfreak94 - Leftovers Numbers and When not to use them
Ger9119 - Underrated Pokemon in Overused Tier #1: Granbull
Psynergy - Introduction to RarelyUsed
MMS - Interview with BGP_
BGP_ - Interview with Psynergy
Moonclawz - A brief Summary of ORAS Suspect Tests.

Other Staff
Eliteknight - Journal head
xDIRCIOx - Format and Edititor

Journal Archive
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
July 2014
March 2014
February 2014
Last edited:
Leftovers Numbers and When Not to Use Them

For some people, EVs can be pretty complicated stuff. When you first started out as a competitive player, you probably just used pretty basic EV spreads, or if you did use more complicated ones, you probably just ripped them straight from a competitive analysis. Many players are like this, and there's nothing wrong with that. After all, standard spreads are standard for a reason, so sometimes it's best to just go with what you know works. However, as time goes on and these players get more experienced, they get more comfortable with using more complex EV spreads. Now, for some reason, there has been a rising fascination that I've noticed over the past couple of years with complicated and innovative EV spreads. It's almost as if people have started to think that the more complicated and unique their EV spreads are, the better they look as a player. Don't get me wrong, sometimes breaking away from the basic 252/252 spreads is a good thing, especially if specific investment lets you hit a certain speed tier or offensive/defensive benchmark. However, sometimes people go too far with the EV innovation and certain EV "tricks" and end up with inefficient EV spreads. There are a lot of misconceptions about EV spreads that I could tackle (i.e. just because your Pokemon's max HP stat is even doesn't mean you need to drop your HP investment to 248, people), but for now I want to talk about an EV "trick" that I see misused a lot: Leftovers numbers.

The concept of Leftovers numbers is very simple. The Leftovers item restores 1/16 of a Pokemon's HP every turn, and as such, a "Leftovers number" is an HP stat that is divisible by 16. Due to the fact that the game rounds down whenever it calculates things such as Leftovers recovery and various forms of passive damage, a Pokemon with an HP stat divisible by exactly 16 will recover an extra point of HP every turn due to Leftovers than a Pokemon with a max HP stat just one point lower. This will also generally increase the damage you take from Stealth Rock and some other forms of passive damage, but the extra point of Leftovers recovery every turn will usually make up for it plus some in the long run. Now, this is a nice little EV trick to keep in mind. After all, if you've got some random HP investment on a certain Pokemon holding Leftovers and the Pokemon's HP stat is just short of being divisible by 16, you can toss in a few more EVs and get an extra point of recovery every turn. Sounds like a good deal, right? Well, the problem is that a lot of people misuse Leftovers numbers and think that they're something that they're not. First, I want to address a couple of cases in which Leftovers numbers can be beneficial. These may not be the only conceivable cases, but they're some of the major ones that come to mind. Then I'll explain the main way in which I see Leftovers numbers misused and I'll explain why it's bad.

Good Case #1: A Pokemon with a Very High HP Stat Compared to its Defenses

When maximizing your defenses, your EV spread will often depend on the HP/Def/SpD stats of your Pokemon. For most Pokemon, it's most efficient to start by maximizing HP and then placing EVs into the defenses. However, for Pokemon with really high HP stats and much lower defensive stats, it's actually best to maximize defenses first. Take, for example, Wobbuffet. With a massive base 190 HP stat and very low base 58 defenses, it will be a lot more efficient to invest completely in Def and SpD if you want to maximize Wobbuffet's overall bulk rather than HP. However, notice that Wobbuffet's HP stat with only the leftover 4 EVs is 522. By investing 28 EVs into the HP stat, you can hit a stat of 528, which is divisible by 16 and as such will give Wobbuffet an extra point of Leftovers recovery. This is a good use of a Leftovers number; while you'll slightly decrease Wobbuffet's overall bulk, the extra point of Leftovers recovery every turn will generally make up for this small decrease while helping Wobbuffet's overall survivability.

Good Case #2: A Pokemon with Leftover EVs Placed into Bulk

In order to better explain this case, let's say you have a Landorus-T set with Leftovers. You want to run an Adamant nature with enough speed to beat Modest Heatran, which requires 144 EVs. Now you just want to maximize your Atk stat and throw the leftover EVs into HP for a bit more bulk. Nothing too specific, you just want your Landorus-T to be able to hit hard and take a few hits. In this case, you'd end up with a spread of 112 HP / 252 Atk / 144 Spe. However, if you had 132 HP EVs, you'd hit an HP stat of 352 and as such have one more point of Leftovers recovery than you'd have with 112 HP EVs. This will cost you a little bit of power, but you'd get a little extra bulk as well along with a good bit more survivability with the extra Leftovers recovery. This is another good use of Leftovers numbers since it slightly helps your ability to take hits rather than hurting it.

Good Case #3: A Pokemon with an Emphasis on One Side of the Defensive Spectrum

Lowering your HP stat in order to hit a Leftovers number is generally where players tend to misuse Leftovers numbers (more on that later), but one instance in which this is not a bad thing is when you want to focus more on one side of the defensive spectrum. Again, let's look at the previous Landorus-T example. This time, you want that same Landorus-T speed benchmark: 144 EVs to beat Modest Heatran. However, now you want to run an Impish nature with the rest of the EVs placed into HP and Def to bolster Landorus-T's bulk (specifically its physical bulk). Now, ordinarily you might just run a basic 252 HP / 112 Def / 144 Spe spread since it's more beneficial invest in Landorus-T's HP before its defenses. However, let's say you want to place an extra emphasis on physical bulk. After all, Landorus-T is primarily a physical tank. In order to boost Landorus-T's physical bulk with your remaining EVs, you want to move as many HP EVs to Def as possible. This will obviously decrease Landorus-T's special bulk, but its physical bulk will increase slightly as a result. In this case, one option is to use a spread of 196 HP / 168 Def / 144 Spe. Since you've moved some HP EVs to Def, Landorus-T's physical bulk is now a little better. However, you still have enough HP to hit Landorus-T's last Leftovers number and provide it with the maximum amount of Leftovers recovery possible for a Landorus-T (23 HP points per turn). As long as you want that physical emphasis and you're okay with the fact that your special bulk will be decreased as a result, this is another good use of Leftovers numbers.

Bad Case: An Inefficient EV Spread Due to an Attempt to Hit a Leftovers Number

Now I'd like to demonstrate an example in which Leftovers numbers are misused, leading to a Pokemon with an inefficient EV spread. Consider the following hypothetical description in an RMT:

Clefable @ Leftovers
Trait: Unaware
EVs: 212 HP / 252 Def / 44 SDef
Bold Nature
-Heal Bell

...As far as the EV spread goes, I wanted a Clefable set that could take physical hits as well as possible, but I also wanted a little extra special bulk as well. That said, I'm running max Def with a Bold nature, enough HP to hit the last Leftovers number, and the rest placed into SpD.

This is the kind of example of a bad use of Leftovers numbers that I see all the time, and it's the main reason that I'm writing this article now. It seems reasonable at first glance, right? After all, this player is simply running just enough HP to maximize Leftovers recovery while using the rest to bolster Clefable's lower defensive stat. It seems pretty similar to the above Landorus-T example, so what's the problem? Well, the answer is that in the Landorus-T example, we just wanted to create a spread that emphasized physical bulk. Landorus-T's overall bulk decreased as a result of its drop in special bulk, but that's acceptable because special bulk was of a lesser concern in that example. With this Clefable example, however, our hypothetical player is trying to keep Clefable's overall bulk intact. He/she wants an emphasis on physical bulk, but obviously a little extra special bulk is still important here. The problem in this case is that Clefable is one of those Pokemon for whom it is most beneficial to maximize HP first. The above EV spread is defensively inefficient, and we can demonstrate this inefficiency by comparing damage calculations utilizing the above EV spread with those utilizing an alternate spread.

For this example, let's consider an alternate EV spread of 252 HP / 232 Def / 24 SpD with a Bold nature. This spread uses max HP and enough Def EVs to hit a jump point (i.e. a benchmark for which placing 4 EVs in a nature-boosted stat yields an increase of 2 stat points instead of 1), and the remaining few EVs are placed into SpD. This fulfills our hypothetical player's requirement of having nearly maximum physical bulk with a little extra special bulk. Now let's compare the two spreads with a couple of powerful physical and special attackers.

252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 212 HP / 44 SpD Clefable: 279-328 (72.6 - 85.4%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Choice Specs Keldeo Hydro Pump vs. 252 HP / 24 SpD Clefable: 285-336 (72.3 - 85.2%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

252+ Atk Bisharp Iron Head vs. 212 HP / 252+ Def Clefable: 246-290 (64 - 75.5%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
252+ Atk Bisharp Iron Head vs. 252 HP / 232+ Def Clefable: 252-296 (63.9 - 75.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

The difference is minimal, but you can see that the alternate spread above takes hits slightly better on both the physical side and the special side than the spread utilizing the Leftovers number. Therefore, the Leftovers number spread is inefficient because it worsens Clefable's overall bulk.

Of course, you might be wondering if there is still some benefit to utilizing a Leftovers number in this case. After all, in the Wobbuffet example, the slight decrease in overall bulk was made up for by the additional Leftovers recovery every turn. However, this is not the case with the above Clefable example. A Clefable with the HP stat provided by the Leftovers number spread (384) is recovering 24 HP points per turn. Meanwhile, a Clefable with the HP stat provided by max HP investment (394) is recovering…also 24 HP points per turn. The Leftovers recovery hasn't changed at all. All that has changed is that Clefable's physical and special bulk have both taken a slight hit, and all with no real benefit from hitting that Leftovers number.

The moral of the story is to be smart with your EVs and always think things through. Sometimes little EV "tricks" like Leftovers numbers seem really cool on the surface, but misusing them can cause your Pokemon more harm than good. By keeping things like this in mind, you'll be one step closer to making custom EV spreads that are both innovative and efficient.
A Brief Summary of ORAS OU Suspect Tests: Mega Salamence and Greninja

Mega Salamence


Why was it suspected?

In the XY metagame, Salamence was not an often used or very viable Pokemon. Competition with faster dragon-types such as Garchomp and Latios, as well as the introduction of fairy-types greatly reduced its ability to function in the OU metagame. However, with the advent of ORAS, the Salamencite item was released, give Salamence a powerful new Mega-Evolution.

Mega Salamence sported increased attack (145), special attack (130), and speed (120), as well as an significant boost to its defense stat (130). With a pre-Mega ability of Intimidate, Salamence could easily find a time to set-up a Dragon Dance, while its post-Mega ability, Aerilate, gave the dragon powerful Flying Type STAB moves. Due to its increased bulk and attack stats, Mega Salamence was not only difficult to wall, but also difficult to take down. Finally, Mega Salamence could outrun and beat common OU Choice Scarfers with its blazing fast speed.

What were arguments for and against banning Mega Salamence?

Arguments for a Mega Salamence suspect were overwhelming. The vast majority of players clearly recognized that Mega Salamence was both overpowered and overcentralizing. With its increased attack stat, power boost from Aerilate, and access to Dragon Dance, Mega Salamence could muscle its way past most of OU’s physical walls. In addition, Mega Salamence could also run a special attacking set with moves such as Draco Meteor, Hydro Pump, and Fire Blast to surprise its more common checks. Finally, Mega Salamence’s increased bulk coupled with access to Roost allowed it tank most super effective moves and set up additional Dragon Dance boosts. A popular set of Dragon Dance, Roost, Substitute, and Frustration could easily 6-0 unprepared teams.

Due to the combination of its bulk, power, and versatility, Mega Salamence did not have counters, but instead niche checks, making it a very centralizing Pokémon in the metagame. With its increased speed, offense checks were few. Teams had to run uncommon Pokémon such as Choice Scarf Noivern or Choice Band Mamoswine. Defensive checks such as Rotom Wash, Skarmory, and Rhyperior could not beat a SubRoost set 1v1 and completely lost to a special attacking set. Furthermore, teams had to run numerous Mega Salamence checks to avoid being swept by the dragon, making it very restrictive to teambuilding.

As such, the OU council decided to discuss whether to quickban Mega Salamence, which would result in its immediate banishment from the OU tier, or to hold a formal suspect test with a laddering phase and voting phase.

The primary debate was not actually if Mega Salamence should be banned, but how the monstrous dragon should be banned. Most players favored an immediate quickban that would restore the OU metagame, while some believed a suspect test would be better, giving more time to evaluate the impact of Mega Salamence. These people argued that more Mega Salamence checks might pop up, especially as people spent more time teambuilding. However, many people pointed out that due to an early ORAS OU ladder, the negative impact of Mega Salamence to the metagame was very clear and it was unlikely that new checks would suddenly pop up. They noted that even if a suspect test were to occur, Mega Salamence would likely be banned anyways, making a suspect test a waste of time.

What was the result?

After a week of mostly repetitive discussion on how Mega-Salamence was a broken Pokemon, the OU suspect council quick-banned the Salamencite item, effectively banning Mega Salamence. While this solved the most obvious problem in the OU metagame, the resulting metagame was better, but still not very good. Offensive teams were very effective and dominant in the metagame, much in part due to one Pokemon in particular – Greninja.



Why was it suspected?

In the late XY metagame, Greninja was a potent offensive threat, but was never suspected. Bulky fairy-types such as Clefable as well as Assault Vest users such as Azumarill and Conkeldurr were common and effective Greninja checks. However, the introduction of move tutors in ORAS gave Greninja potent tools in Gunk Shot and Low Kick, moves that greatly amplified Greninja’s coverage, pushing it towards being an overpowered Pokemon. With a simple moveset of Dark Pulse, Ice Beam, Gunk Shot and Low Kick, Greninja could 2HKO much of the OU metagame. Former checks such as Azumarill and Ferrothorn were hard hit by Gunk Shot and Low Kick respectively. As such, the OU council decided to run a Greninja suspect test.

What were arguments for and against banning Greninja?

Arguments for banning Greninja emphasized its great power and fast speed tier. With Protean and Life Orb boosting its attack power, Greninja could OHKO many slightly weakened offensive Pokemon, as well as 2HKO most defensive Pokemon after Stealth Rocks. Sitting at base 122 speed, Greninja outpaced a plethora of common OU Pokemon such as Garchomp, Latios, Gengar, Keldeo and Thundurus. While offensive teams often had faster Pokemon or priority that could check Greninja, most balanced teams lacked Pokemon that could reliably tank a hit, outspeed Greninja, and KO back. Most importantly, Greninja could now bypass its most common checks such as Clefable and Azumarill with a super effective Gunk Shot.

Anti-ban proponents pointed out that Greninja failed to KO common defensive Pokemon such as Ferrothorn, Rotom Wash, and defensive Mega Scizor with its most common moveset. If Greninja ran coverage moves such as HP Fire to bypass Ferrothorn, it would lose out on coverage to other Pokemon. In addition, Greninja was frail and easily revenged by priority attacks such as Talonflame’s Brave Bird, or by Choice Scarfers such as Scarf Landorus-T. In fact, Greninja could only really switch into resisted moves or risk taking a huge chunk of damage.

However, many people noted that Greninja could afford to swap out a move, most often Low Kick, because of the amazing coverage already provided by the simple combination of Dark Pulse, Ice Beam and Gunk Shot. This versatility essentially allowed Greninja to choose its own checks, while also being able to easily adapt its moveset to any metagame trends. Although Greninja cannot KO many defensive Pokemon, being able to 2HKO most defensive Pokemon meant that very few Pokemon could directly switch-into Greninja. In essence, every time Greninja got a free switch-in, it could get a KO relatively easily. Greninja’s moves were also very spammable. Although it may not be able to KO opposing Pokemon by simply spamming Dark Pulse or Ice Beam, it could significantly wear down the opposing team with constant offensive pressure, allowing one of its teammates to sweep much more easily. Finally, Greninja’s access to Spikes and Toxic Spikes further augmented its ability to apply offensive pressure, especially as Spikes + Protean allowed Greninja to absorb Volt Switches from Rotom Wash.

What was the result?

In the end, Greninja was banned from the OU tier with an 82% supermajority, indicating the a large majority of the qualified voters felt that Greninja’s amazing offensive presence was too much for the tier. Despite its frailness, Greninja’s amazing combination of speed, power, and coverage made it broken in the eyes of many players. After Greninja’s ban, the OU metagame drifted away from heavy offense, and more towards a mix of offensive and balanced teams. While some people believed that this metagame was good, others felt that the OU metagame was too heavily match-up based. Evidently, more suspect testing was needed.

Underrated Pokemon in Overused Tier #1: Granbull

Welcome to the first Underrated Pokemon article for SPPF Journal. Every month I'll be covering a Pokemon that is very effective in OU despite belonging in lower tiers (UU and lower). To qualify for this article, the Pokemon must be in the tier I mentioned before or lower, it must have a valuable niche that can make it effective in OU, and it must be able to check and/or sweep numerous kinds of Pokemon in the tier. This month, with the debut of ORAS and all the new Megas, many of which are physical-based or Fighting typed, I wanted something that can come in and stop them in their tracks, so I chose a Fairy type that has one of the best abilities in the game in Intimidate, Granbull.


(Base Stats) 90/120/75/60/60/45

Granbull was once one of the most forgettable Pokemon in all of the game. It was stuck with a horrible Normal typing, which made it outclassed by various pink blobs. While it still had a good ability and stats, it just wasn't able to do anything due to not having any resists except for a Ghost immunity, which made it very limited in what it can do for a team. But it was saved from all of that when XY came out and gave a it pure Fairy typing, which is outstanding, giving it Fighting/Bug/Dark resistances and a Dragon immunity. However, with Aegislash and Steel type Mega Evolutions running around in the majority of that metagame, it made it hard to use to say the least. ORAS is a lot kinder to Granbull since a lot of the new Megas don't like Granbull switching in and counting down their attacks. It has a massive movepool both with attacking options and support options allowing it to fill two roles on a team.

The Set


Granbull @ Leftovers
Ability: Intimidate
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpA
Relaxed Nature
- Play Rough
- Earthquake
- Ice Punch
- Fire Blast

This is the set I personally run for Granbull and which I find to be very effective as it can hit numerous Pokemon that you can switch in to as well as stuff that may switch in to wall Granbull. The EV's achieve max physical bulk, making it easy to tank most physical attacks pointed at it barring Steel type moves. Choose Relaxed nature to have max defense while not losing any special attack since speed really isn't important for Granbull's success. Leftovers is the best item option as the recovery protects Granbull from being 3hko'ed by some moves. Play Rough is a STAB move as well as the primary attacking option, hitting numerous Pokemon in the tier for super effective damage; even without any investment you hit very hard. Ice Punch is mainly for Lando-T, as it's the most used Pokemon in the tier, making Ice Punch a requirement. Fire Blast is for Steel type switch ins like Scizor, Ferro, etc., as neither of those want to take a Fire Blast. Earthquake is for stuff like Heatran that may switch in, it's really a fringe move on this set and can easily be replaced.

Moveset Options

Heal Bell - Can function as your team's cleric, this heals status that can plague teams as well as Granbull itself.
Thunder Wave - Can provide support for sweepers. Getting a threat paralyzed can lead to a sweep, making Thunder-Wave a solid choice.
Toxic - This is good for other team's walls and stuff Granbull can't break like Rotom-W.
Protect - Can be used with Toxic to slowly wear down opponents, or by itself as a way to regain HP from Leftovers and scout for the opponent's moves.
Bulk Up - If its physical bulk isn't enough for you or if you wanna turn it into a sweeper.
Rock Slide/Stone Edge - If Talonflame or Pinsir really wreck your team, run one of these moves to watch those birds drop from the sky.
Assault Vest - If you don't want Leftovers and you want a more balanced wall. Make sure you have some sort of team support to back this kind of set up.

Teammate Options

Granbull's main weakness is the Steel type. Mega Metagross and Scizor are very deadly towards it since it's outsped and 2HKO'ed in most cases. This makes Choice Scarf Heatran a great teammate as it can easily switch in on Steel type moves and OHKO with Overheat. It's also an excellent lure for Metagross since most carry a move to take out Heatran. Magnezone also works extremely well as a partner, taking out Scizor and Ferrothorn with ease thanks to Hidden Power Fire. Taking out Bisharp is extremely important, as Granbull has trouble taking it out, especially if it gives it a Defiant boost. Cobalion works as a great Bisharp check, although any other Fighting type, like Keldeo, Terrakion etc. can easily do the same. Pokemon that can sponge special attacks are very appreciated, as Granbull's special defense is very limited, so taking out powerful special attackers is key for it's success. Chansey, Latias , Specially Defensive Heatran, and Mega Venusaur are all outstanding options as they work very well with Granbull.

Granbull Calcs (Megas)

(Mega Medicham)
-1 240+ Atk Pure Power Mega Medicham High Jump Kick vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 110-130 (28.6 - 33.8%) -- 97.8% chance to 4HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 240+ Atk Pure Power Mega Medicham Zen Headbutt vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 136-162 (35.4 - 42.1%) -- 86.4% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 240+ Atk Pure Power Mega Medicham Fake Out vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 46-55 (11.9 - 14.3%) -- possibly the worst move ever
-1 240+ Atk Pure Power Mega Medicham Ice Punch vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 85-101 (22.1 - 26.3%) -- possible 5HKO after Leftovers recovery
4 Atk Granbull Play Rough vs. 16 HP / 0 Def Mega Medicham: 260-308 (98.1 - 116.2%) -- 87.5% chance to OHKO

(Mega Lopunny)
-1 252 Atk Lopunny High Jump Kick vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 63-75 (16.4 - 19.5%) -- possible 8HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252 Atk Lopunny Return vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 100-118 (26 - 30.7%) -- 3.1% chance to 4HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252 Atk Lopunny Fake Out vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 40-48 (10.4 - 12.5%) -- possibly the worst move ever
-1 252 Atk Lopunny Ice Punch vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 50-59 (13 - 15.3%) -- possibly the worst move ever
4 Atk Granbull Play Rough vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Lopunny: 128-152 (47.2 - 56%) -- 76.6% chance to 2HKO

(Mega Altaria)
-1 192+ Atk Pixilate Mega Altaria Return vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 117-138 (30.4 - 35.9%) -- guaranteed 4HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 192+ Atk Mega Altaria Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 59-70 (15.3 - 18.2%) -- possible 8HKO after Leftovers recovery
4 Atk Granbull Play Rough vs. 64 HP / 0 Def Mega Altaria: 210-248 (68.4 - 80.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

(Mega Gallade)
-1 252 Atk Gallade Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 67-80 (17.4 - 20.8%) -- possible 7HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252 Atk Gallade Knock Off (97.5 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 36-43 (9.3 - 11.1%) -- possibly the worst move ever
-1 252 Atk Gallade Zen Headbutt vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 91-108 (23.6 - 28.1%) -- possible 5HKO after Leftovers recovery
4 Atk Granbull Play Rough vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Gallade: 236-282 (85.1 - 101.8%) -- 12.5% chance to OHKO

(Mega Sableye)
4 Atk Granbull Play Rough vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Mega Sableye: 140-168 (46 - 55.2%) -- 61.3% chance to 2HKO
4 SpA Mega Sableye Shadow Ball vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Granbull: 115-136 (29.9 - 35.4%) -- guaranteed 4HKO after Leftovers recovery
+1 4 SpA Mega Sableye Shadow Ball vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Granbull: 171-202 (44.5 - 52.6%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
+2 4 SpA Mega Sableye Shadow Ball vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Granbull: 229-270 (59.6 - 70.3%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

(Mega Heracross)
-1 252 Atk Mega Heracross Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 74-87 (19.2 - 22.6%) -- possible 6HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252 Atk Mega Heracross Pin Missile (5 hits) vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 80-95 (20.8 - 24.7%) -- possible 6HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252 Atk Mega Heracross Rock Blast (5 hits) vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 110-130 (28.6 - 33.8%) -- approx. 97.4% chance to 4HKO after Leftovers recovery
4 Atk Granbull Play Rough vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Mega Heracross: 204-240 (67.7 - 79.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

(Mega Aerodactyl)
-1 252+ Atk Aerodactyl Stone Edge vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 108-127 (28.1 - 33%) -- 84.4% chance to 4HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252+ Atk Aerodactyl Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 72-85 (18.7 - 22.1%) -- possible 6HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252+ Atk Tough Claws Aerodactyl Ice Fang vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 62-73 (16.1 - 19%) -- possible 8HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252+ Atk Tough Claws Aerodactyl Aerial Ace vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 85-102 (22.1 - 26.5%) -- possible 5HKO after Leftovers recovery
4 Atk Granbull Ice Punch vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Aerodactyl: 180-214 (59.8 - 71%) -- guaranteed 2HKO
4 Atk Granbull Play Rough vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Aerodactyl: 162-192 (53.8 - 63.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

(Mega Gyarados)
-1 252+ Atk Mold Breaker Mega Gyarados Waterfall vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 94-112 (24.4 - 29.1%) -- possible 5HKO after Leftovers recovery
252+ Atk Mold Breaker Mega Gyarados Waterfall vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 142-168 (36.9 - 43.7%) -- 99.5% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
+1 252+ Atk Mold Breaker Mega Gyarados Waterfall vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 211-250 (54.9 - 65.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery
4 Atk Granbull Play Rough vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Mega Gyarados: 212-252 (64 - 76.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

Granbull Calcs (Non Megas)

-1 0 Atk Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 85-102 (22.1 - 26.5%) -- possible 5HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 4 Atk Granbull Ice Punch vs. 252 HP / 240+ Def Landorus-T: 136-160 (35.6 - 41.8%) -- 84.4% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252 Atk Landorus-T Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 102-121 (26.5 - 31.5%) -- 20.2% chance to 4HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 4 Atk Granbull Ice Punch vs. 0 HP / 24 Def Landorus-T: 180-216 (56.4 - 67.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Talonflame Brave Bird vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 135-160 (35.1 - 41.6%) -- 80.2% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252+ Atk Choice Band Talonflame Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 135-160 (35.1 - 41.6%) -- 80.2% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252 Atk Sharp Beak Talonflame Brave Bird vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 100-118 (26 - 30.7%) -- 3.1% chance to 4HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252 Atk Talonflame Flare Blitz vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 84-99 (21.8 - 25.7%) -- possible 5HKO after Leftovers recovery
4 Atk Granbull Rock Slide vs. 120 HP / 0 Def Talonflame: 340-400 (103.9 - 122.3%) -- guaranteed OHKO

-1 252 Atk Mold Breaker Excadrill Iron Head vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 156-186 (40.6 - 48.4%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252 Atk Mold Breaker Excadrill Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 97-115 (25.2 - 29.9%) -- 0.1% chance to 4HKO after Leftovers recovery
4 Atk Granbull Earthquake vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Excadrill: 254-300 (70.3 - 83.1%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

-1 0 Atk Ferrothorn Gyro Ball (70 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 84-102 (21.8 - 26.5%) -- possible 5HKO after Leftovers recovery
0 Atk Ferrothorn Gyro Ball (70 BP) vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 126-150 (32.8 - 39%) -- 6.6% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
0 SpA Granbull Fire Blast vs. 252 HP / 168 SpD Ferrothorn: 160-192 (45.4 - 54.5%) -- 5.1% chance to 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

252 SpA Life Orb Latios Hidden Power Fire vs. 252 HP / 0 SpD Granbull: 129-152 (33.5 - 39.5%) -- 17.7% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
252 SpA Life Orb Latios Psyshock vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 148-175 (38.5 - 45.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
4 Atk Granbull Play Rough vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Latios: 272-324 (90.9 - 108.3%) -- 50% chance to OHKO

-1 252+ Atk Huge Power Diggersby Return vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 124-147 (32.2 - 38.2%) -- 1.6% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252+ Atk Huge Power Diggersby Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 121-144 (31.5 - 37.5%) -- 0% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
4 Atk Granbull Play Rough vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Diggersby: 142-168 (45.5 - 53.8%) -- 40.6% chance to 2HKO
4 Atk Granbull Ice Punch vs. 4 HP / 0 Def Diggersby: 158-186 (50.6 - 59.6%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

-1 252 Atk Choice Band Tyranitar Stone Edge vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 144-171 (37.5 - 44.5%) -- guaranteed 3HKO after sandstorm damage and Leftovers recovery
4 Atk Granbull Play Rough vs. 0 HP / 4 Def Tyranitar: 210-248 (61.5 - 72.7%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

-1 252 Atk Life Orb Terrakion Close Combat vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 73-86 (19 - 22.3%) -- possible 6HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252 Atk Life Orb Terrakion Stone Edge vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 122-146 (31.7 - 38%) -- 0.6% chance to 3HKO after Leftovers recovery
-1 252 Atk Life Orb Terrakion Earthquake vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Granbull: 82-97 (21.3 - 25.2%) -- possible 5HKO after Leftovers recovery
4 Atk Granbull Play Rough vs. 0 HP / 0 Def Terrakion: 248-294 (76.7 - 91%) -- guaranteed 2HKO

Introduction to RarelyUsed

The competitive environment is home to a variety of unique metagames. Despite this, most people only know about standard metagames such as VGC or the OverUsed tier and have little knowledge of the nuances and tendencies that make other tiers unique. Here we’ll take a look at the RarelyUsed tier and some of the Pokémon that help shape the metagame, in order to discuss why they stand out in the tier and ultimately introduce people to one of the lesser known metagames.


Cobalion is one of the tier’s most prominent and diverse Pokémon sitting at A+ rank in viability. It sports a very useful Steel/Fighting typing giving it key resistances to types such as Dark, which pairs well with Justified to function as a nice switch-in to Knock Off. Access to Taunt and Stealth Rock as well as a solid base 108 Speed also lets it function as a solid lead, while Swords Dance and Substitute let it serve as a strong setup sweeper. A wonderful base 129 also helps it avoid being easily revenged by priority so taking it down after setting up isn’t always easy. Fighting types have become increasingly dangerous with threats like Dragalge, Mega Pidgeot and Gligar leaving the tier, and Cobalion is no different.


Cobalion @ Leftovers
EVs: 160 HP / 96 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Close Combat
- Volt Switch
- Taunt / Iron Head


Cresselia stands as one of the two S rank threats in the tier with incredible 120/120/130 bulk and solid base 85 Speed to back it up. In a tier where Fighting types are even more dangerous than ever, Cresselia’s resilience makes it a formidable wall that every player should be prepared to beat. Dual Screens, Thunder Wave, Lunar Dance and Moonlight all help make it a valuable asset to stall-oriented teams as well as balanced teams. Cresselia can also function as a dangerous Calm Mind sweeper with potential to win games on its own if it gets any opportunity to begin setting up. Cresselia is by no means impossible to take down with dangerous threats like Durant, Escavalier and Doublade around, but it’s definitely something to watch out for.


Cresselia @ Leftovers
Ability: Levitate
EVs: 252 HP / 152 Def / 104 SpD
Bold Nature
- Moonblast
- Psyshock
- Moonlight
- Thunder Wave


Mega Steelix
Sitting as the one other S rank Pokémon in RU is Mega Steelix. Much like Cresselia, Mega Steelix is an incredibly durable wall due largely to its staggering base 230 Defense. While it lacks any reliable form of recovery and has unfortunate weaknesses to Water and Fighting, Steel/Ground gives it a plethora of resistances as well as useful immunities to Electric attacks and Toxic. Its solid base 125 Attack coupled with powerful STAB moves in the form of Earthquake and Heavy Slam means it’s no sitting duck, and it can afford to run a Curse set to boost its physical prowess even further. Taunt and Stealth Rock also make for incredible support options that helps it bully the common Defog users, and Roar lets it stop set-up sweepers like Cresselia and Doublade. Mega Steelix is a titanic threat in RU capable of dealing with much of the tier, and much like Cresselia should it always be accounted for when teambuilding.

Offensive Stealth Rock

Steelix @ Steelixite
Ability: Sturdy
EVs: 204 HP / 252 Atk / 52 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Stealth Rock
- Heavy Slam
- Earthquake
- Toxic


Doublade has always been an incredibly solid threat in RU, and it’s often one of the first things associated with the tier as noted by its A+ rank in viability. Doublade deviates very little from a standard Swords Dance set since Shadow Sneak, Shadow Claw and Iron Head alone are all it really needs to fill its role. A stellar typing both offensively and defensively as well as strong 110 Attack and 150 Defense coupled with Eviolite all give it dangerous set-up opportunities on many physical attackers, and having powerful priority can make revenge killing it a hassle once it sets up. Weak HP, Special Defense and Speed stats do bring it down a bit, but its dangerous potential as a sweeper shouldn’t be underestimated.

Standard Swords Dance

Doublade @ Eviolite
Ability: No Guard
EVs: 212 HP / 252 Atk / 44 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Swords Dance
- Shadow Claw
- Iron Head
- Shadow Sneak


Much like Cresselia, Alomomola is a solid cornerstone to Stall teams. While 80/45 defenses hardly look dangerous alone, a massive base 165 HP gives it plenty of natural bulk even without maximum investment. This HP makes the sunfish a phenomenal Wish passer which coupled with Regenerator gives it a lot of longevity needed for a Stall team to thrive. The always irritating Scald burns also deters physical attackers though some opt for Knock Off to mess with anything reliant on its item. Regardless of its choice in move though, providing Wish support while pivoting in and out thanks to Regenerator is what Alomomola does best. While it’s not the only thing to provide Wish support in the tier, Alomomola is a stand-out among the rest.

Standard Defensive

Alomomola @ Leftovers
Ability: Regenerator
EVs: 120 HP / 136 Def / 252 SpD
Calm Nature
- Scald
- Wish
- Protect
- Toxic


Hitmonlee is one of the tier’s best Fighting types and wallbreakers. Reckless boosted High Jump Kicks hit hard, and access to Knock Off lets it bully both Ghost and Psychic types that otherwise don’t mind Fighting types. Mach Punch is also a great tool but what sets Hitmonlee apart is access to Rapid Spin, giving it the ability to provide a form of hazard removal for offensive teams. In a tier lacking options for hazard removal, this is an incredibly useful tool to have even if spinning isn’t its primary role. That said, wallbreaking and spinning isn’t the only Hitmonlee can do. Our kicking friend can function as an effective revenge killer with Choice Scarf as well as pull a late-game sweep with Endure + Liechi Berry and Unburden, so it’s not just a one-dimensional wallbreaker. Hitmonlee is very good at what it does, and kicking things to into oblivion is only part of it.


Hitmonlee @ Life Orb
Ability: Reckless
EVs: 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Adamant / Jolly Nature
- High Jump Kick
- Rapid Spin / Stone Edge
- Knock Off
- Mach Punch


In a tier lacking hazard removal, Golbat emerges as one of the few viable Defog users. While it still struggles to beat many hazard setters like Steelix and Rhyperior and generally isn’t the most reliable hazard remover, it still boasts the ability to counter numerous Fighting types and harass opposing Stall teams. Golbat has fantastic options in Super Fang and Taunt to deal with opposing Stall teams as well, and Infiltrator lets it handle Substitute users that otherwise would try setting up on it. However, Golbat does not appreciate Knock Off and the inability to handle everything with only four moves limits its effectiveness. Golbat has fallen a bit out of the spotlight in the current metagame but it’s still an acceptable defensive Pokémon and hazard remover.

Physically Defensive

Golbat @ Eviolite
Ability: Infiltrator
EVs: 248 HP / 252 Def / 8 SpD
Impish Nature
- Brave Bird
- Roost
- Defog
- Toxic / Super Fang / Taunt


Rhyperior is a Pokémon that has a lot going in its favor. Base 115 HP and 130 Defense coupled with a fantastic 140 Attack, as well as a strong STAB combination and an amazing ability in Solid Rock mitigating its crippling Water and Grass weaknesses all contribute to a very strong presence. Rhyperior’s movepool is far from lacking in variety as well, ranging from Megahorn, Stealth Rock, Roar, Ice Punch and Rock Polish, providing a lot of utility and power for a team. A bulky Stealth Rock set is popular, though pure offensive sets offer a ton of raw power that shouldn’t be ignored. Base 40 Speed is not helping it outpace much, but that doesn’t stop Rhyperior from being a fantastic tank, be it offensive or defensive.

Bulky Tank

Rhyperior @ Leftovers
Ability: Solid Rock
EVs: 248 HP / 16 Atk / 244 SpD
Adamant Nature
- Earthquake
- Stealth Rock
- Rock Blast
- Protect / Roar


Once the reigning queen of the tier, Meloetta still finds itself residing in the higher end of RU threats. While the its sets all vary in effectiveness, Meloetta is capable of running a plethora of sets including Choice Specs, Substitute + Calm Mind and more. Normal’s fantastic neutral coverage alongside Psychic can make switching into Meloetta’s STAB moves dangerous, and access to U-turn complements it well. That said, the Normal typing can be both a benefit and a detriment, giving it a nice immunity to the Ghost types that otherwise would threaten it while also neutralizing the usual Fighting resistance typical of most Psychics in the tier. Regardless, the sheer diversity in its sets makes it a very dangerous threat and it’s something that no player wants to be caught unprepared for.

Choice Specs

Meloetta @ Choice Specs
Ability: Serene Grace
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Timid Nature
- Psychic
- Hyper Voice
- U-turn
- Shadow Ball


Mega Abomasnow
Sitting as one of the only two veteran Megas in RU is Mega Abomasnow, and while it’s got clear weaknesses it’s far from bad. While Grass/Ice gives it crippling weaknesses to common types like Fire and Fighting with a painfully slow base 30 Speed, resistances to Water and Grass are very useful and dual 132 offenses make for a terrifying wallbreaker. While it does have the stats to go mixed or even special, Swords Dance Mega Abomasnow finds itself as a popular set among players thanks to Ice Shard letting it bypass is abysmal speed. Its STAB combination threatens a lot of the tier making it hard to switch into, and being able to tear through cores like Alomomola + Amoonguss makes it a huge threat to Stall teams. Given that it faces little competition for a Mega slot in RU it also doesn’t have to worry too much about being forgone in favor of a better Mega. Mega Abomasnow stands as a strong offensive Mega in the tier, and while it’s got its fair share of shortcomings it’s undoubtedly one of the strongest wallbreakers in the tier.

Swords Dance

Abomasnow @ Abomasite
Ability: Soundproof
EVs: 172 HP / 252 Atk / 84 Spe
Adamant Nature
- Ice Shard
- Wood Hammer / Seed Bomb
- Swords Dance
- Earthquake
Interview with BGP

MMS: So, can you tell me about what you've done in the Competitive section on Serebii?

BGP: As for stuff I've done in comp, I haven't exactly done as much as some of the people I've interviewed, mostly a partaker lol. I was in several clans prior to Drac (Red Dragons, original SeaSoul, Radiant Dawn, Delirium, Super Elites the original original ORIGINAL one, etc. etc.) but since Drac I have not been in any other clans/guilds. Actually I haven't been in any "guilds" other than drac since that whole change went down. I've run the Pokemon Masterclass the past 2 years and will be doing it again this year (february 1st be there). I used to mess with leagues/frontiers now and then including the OSL, though I don't ever remember trying the SBF. Most of my activity was during Gen IV, where I was at least half decent and could win sometimes and actually knew some things, though I was far from great or anything, but certainly better than now. Gen V I mostly skipped on, hated it so not much to say there besides a year of VGC 13. I've been trying to get back into Gen VI and especially with ORAS OU but it's been slow progress having missed most of Gen V and some of XY. I only really play vgc/doubles consistently anymore and I'm still learning the new ruleset for them soooo yeah, but I'm working on ORAS stuff as I type.

MMS: You're the leader of Dracaena, the oldest guild on Serebii. It's been around for five years as of 1/1/15. What's it like, leading such a successful guild for such a long time?

BGP: My favorite part of Dracaena has been the community we've had. Over the years with so many members, you get to know a lot of people both in and outside the guild, and we've enjoyed having a great community that is willing to accept others and welcome back those who left for whatever reason. One of the interesting things with lasting so long is that sometimes members from when the guild was first formed with Kabzy, Hiro and Calarus but left the site for various reasons have come back and still see us standing, able to jump right back in with us. We're a close group, and that's probably the main reason we're still running. We can joke and have fun with each other, and drama very rarely happens. It's been a huge pleasure to lead Drac for a little over four years now and work with the various leaders and members that have been with us. I wish I could spend more time working on the guild and having fun with the members, but unfortunately college and work get in the way, compared to when I first started with all the time in the world. It can be hard sometimes, and I think I can speak for other leaders when I say that the constant work to keep things up to date and improve is more than what meets the eye, but I still love Dracaena and our community. I'd love to see us be at the forefront of things again like we used to be while still maintaining this community, however.

MMS: You've clearly been around for a very long time. How has the comp section changed over the years? What has improved? What was better before?

BGP: I kinda lurked at first, but I first started in clans which probably comes as a surprise to no one. I would say that as far as clans go, most of the rule and policy changes have been for the better, such as getting rid of the fact that you could join as many clans as you wanted and then eventually getting rid of the two clan rule. There also was a casual/competitive split, though I don't remember how exactly that worked to be honest, just that it was cut not too long after Dracaena was originally made. Despite changes that have been mostly for the better, it's far less active now in the guilds section which is kind of disappointing. There's also been some more clan-involved tournaments and leagues in recent years and I'd enjoy seeing these continue. Speaking of clans/guilds, wars were far more common and were taken far more seriously in my opinion, quite often good sources for flame wars (I would know). The general competitive nature of guilds just seems lower in general. I know that Dracaena may not exactly be the most competitive guild at the moment, but the section still doesn't seem as competitive in nature or active as it used to be.

One of the bigger things that is different now that I've asked about sometimes is the lack of an official league-type thing. I remember the OSL around the time when I first joined and participating in it a little bit when I was newer, and then there was the SBF, though I didn't really mess with that. We haven't had something like this in a few years I believe, though with the current activity levels of the competitive section I don't think it would work at the moment. Leagues also seem to have taken a hit as a result of lower activity and competitive nature as well, though I haven't been in the leagues section much lately so I can't speak entirely much on that.

tl;dr - Most changes have been for the better, but activity is a big problem compared to my early years where anyone and everyone would battle in and outside leagues/clans just for the sake of it. The WiFi and Sims battle section was actually used quite often then. Yes, people actually used wifi then too. It was the "priority" method of play. If you could only play on Shoddy, stunk to be you. That has obviously changed.

MMS: So what's your favorite Pokemon?

BGP: My favorite has to be Sceptile. Treecko was my first pokemon and I absolutely loved getting Sceptile and wrecking house in Emerald with him. Other than him since that's a generic 1st-starter experience, I'd say Mamoswine is my favorite competitive Pokemon and 2nd favorite overall Pokemon. He's a good, strong ice type and has generally been a great anti-meta pokemon in both OU and VGC. I've rarely used teams without him!
Interview with Psynergy

BGP: To start off my first interview of the year, can you tell me about yourself?

Psynergy: I'm a second year university student at UC Berkeley currently studying Applied Math, which is synonymous with either Asian or lazy. I'm the latter. I also mod here for both Nintendo and ORAS Discussion. Not a mod in the Competitive sections though, so for all intents and purposes I'm just a regular member with a red name when I post in Competitive.

BGP: When did you first get involved with Serebii, and what has your mod experience been like on here?

Psynergy: Well I joined back in 2010 when a friend of mine suggested joining Serebii. I actually stuck around mostly in GPD and current game discussion like most new members do, but I did have some knowledge of competitive battling despite rarely posting there. I eventually branched out to posting in Nintendo Discussion and it mostly stayed that way until XY when I started to get more interested in competitive battling thanks to general mechanics changes and Mega Evolution. I was also modded some time after as the first new mod in 2014 so I haven't been a mod for all that long. And unlike a lot of the other new mods around here I was the only new one at the time so it was kind of unnerving with all the veteran mods around. The Serebii community is fun though so I'm glad to be a part of it.

BGP: You first joined back in 2010, right at the end of Gen IV with B/W incoming. Did this have an effect on you entering the competitive scene with such a big shift in the metagame occurring right as you joined?

Psynergy: Back in the transition between Gen 4 and 5 I wasn't a huge battler so the change had a mixed impact on my decision to get into competitive. The introduction of rain and sun to non-Uber Pokemon looked like an interesting change at the time so I briefly attempted to get into battling with the Serebii League when that was a thing. Just like many others I began to get tired of all the weather spam though, and I ended up drifting further away from competitive until Gen 6.

BGP: What do you think the best and worst changes are from when you first started playing to now after the release of OR/AS?

Psynergy: Well the Physical/Special split would definitely be the best change, but the nerf to weather abilities was the best change to happen after I got into competitive. I'm also a fan of Mega Evolution since it caused the metagame to literally evolve in a way nobody could've expected. There's probably not a lot of changes I disagree with, though I still think Fairy could have gone without the Bug resistance. I also think it could have gotten away with a resistance to Dragon as opposed to an immunity, but I won't deny that Dragon needed some kind of nerf.

BGP: You've become more involved with the competitive aspect of the game in recent years. What/who has helped you enter the scene and learn the varying tiers and rulesets?

Psynergy: The biggest factor that drew me back into competitive has to be the competitively focused Pokemon Club on my college campus. We mainly play by Smogon rulesets and variatons of them, but we've also got a group that plays VGC so there's a little of everything. Thanks to them I've gotten into a number of Smogon formats and I'm even delving a bit into VGC (Special mention to kamikaze17 on Nugget Bridge). A lot of people will say that having a community to learn with is a great way to improve and I'd have to agree. Just having a group of people to play with is extremely helpful on so many levels and I might not have gotten into competitive without them. XY being the new thing when I joined up with them was also a factor that helped ease me in since it was new to everyone and not just me.

BGP: Speaking of the community aspect, I assume you would suggest new players to be part of some kind of community like you yourself did? Is there anything else you would suggest to players who want to get into competitive?

Psynergy: Oh definitely, being part of a community means you have a group of people to discuss things with, and more importantly, make friends with people who actually share interests with you. That alone makes the competitive environment less intimidating when you start out. As for other suggestions, I'd say making use of all available resources is incredibly useful for learning how to play. Usage statistics, viability rankings, the damage calculator, those things are always helpful.

BGP: Which of the Smogon tiers do you find the most fun to play? Most challenging? Also, what are your thoughts on the differences between the two main rulesets, Smogon's tiers and VGC, now that you are starting to play VGC?

Psynergy: I typically play OU, RU and Ubers when it comes to Smogon tiers so I typically find those most enjoyable. I've also attempted AG but the lack of Species Clause ruins it for me. It's tough to say which is my favorite, though it would probably be either RU or Ubers. The former for the fun of bringing weaker and even NFE Pokemon to the spotlight while still offering a usable selection of Megas, and the latter for being able to use the some of the most broken Pokemon in the game in a competitive setting where broken is the norm. UU is probably the most challenging for me though I'm not a fan of the tier in general.

As for VGC I'm still new to the environment there since I don't usually play Doubles, but I'm pleasantly surprised with the metagame despite the criticism it gets. The fact that lead matchups can sometimes determine a match is annoying but the incredibly fast pace makes it interesting. Specific EV spreads are even more critical as a result since narrowly surviving an attack can set the opponent back a lot more than in Smogon formats. I still prefer Smogon formats but I've got respect for VGC and Doubles in general.

BGP: Since you started outside and found your way in, what do you think of the competitive forums here? What changes would you like to see in it as a mod from outside of the section?

Psynergy: I like the competitive forums here, but I think there's a lot of potential here that hasn't been realized. It's been a bit better lately with ORAS spicing things up and Greninja being banned but activity is probably the biggest improvement I'd like to see. The mods can't force people to participate more though, so that's kind of a two-way street. I'm also echoing what others have said in the past in that a revival of the Official Serebii League would be cool to see in the future.

BGP: What are your thoughts on OR/AS, both the game itself and the metagames it created, now that we're a few months post-release?

Psynergy: I've always been a huge fan of Hoenn so I loved OR/AS. Vibrant and different while still familiar for someone who played the original R/S. It also impressed me the most as far as past gen remakes go. Competitively the new OR/AS Megas are great too, most of them got fantastic or arguably perfect stat boosts and now even things like Beedrill and Lopunny are actually viable. Even though not all of them are really good enough to be considered top-tier threats it still adds a lot more variety. The new move tutors also gives a number of new Pokemon a second chance with a better movepool so I like how much ORAS is shaking things up despite just being a remake.

BGP: Recently, the immensely popular Greninja has been banned from OU. What are your thoughts on this?

Psynergy: I'm actually very indifferent towards Greninja as a whole so I stayed very neutral towards the Greninja suspect. Can't say I'm surprised it's gone since I heard very few arguments in favor of keeping it. While it's probably only going to get use as a niche Spikes lead in Ubers it's probably for the better considering how much people disliked battling against it in OU. In the long run I'm sure it'll have a positive effect on the metagame.

BGP: To finish off, what's your favorite Pokemon and why?

Psynergy: Oh I've got an eclectic taste in favorites. Blaziken, Claydol, Magneton/Magnezone, Aegislash, Vanilluxe, Dunsparce, Klinklang, I like them all. My number 1 is and always has been Rayquaza after I first saw it in Ruby, though that should be no surprise to anyone who knows me even a little. And having a Mega godly enough to tear Ubers apart with complete plot justification for not holding a Mega Stone? I can't seriously say he's not my favorite.
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