Gen 5 OU - Sandstorm guide, by Amarillo and Eternal
Table of Contents:
-Introduction and Sand Effects(written)
-Pokemon to Consider
-Abusers list (written)
-Offensive Pokemon immune to ss (written)
-Other offensive Pokemon (written)
-Sandstorm defensive walls (written)
-Other defensive Pokemon (written)
-Other Options (written)
-Problems for Sandstorm Teams
In the 3rd and 4th Generations, sandstorm was a common battling condition. However, this was mainly because Tyranitar, and partially Hippowdon, was a common threat in the metagame. In 5th Generation, sandstorm receives some major offensive buffs. With the advent of sweepers such as Landorus and Excadrill, sandstorm has evolved from an annoying battling condition to a dominant playstyle.
This guide will focus on utilizing the benefactors of sandstorm to your advantage, and retaining the advantage against opposing weather conditions. After reading this guide, you should have gained all the knowledge necessary on building and playing with a sandstorm team.
Sandstorm can be brought onto the field in two ways. The first method is using the move Sandstorm; this type of sandstorm will last up to five turns. The held item Smooth Rock lengthens the duration of this sandstorm to eight turns. However, this option is inferior to using Pokemon with the ability Sand Stream. This ability casts a permanent sandstorm upon the field until the opposing team changes the weather. This guide will focus on the latter type of sandstorm.
The following are the effects that will occur if sandstorm is the field effect:
- The Special Defense of Rock-type Pokemon is increased by 50%
- All non-Rock-, Steel-, and Ground-type Pokemon and Pokemon without the ability Magic Guard, Sand Veil, or Overcoat take 1/16 damage at the end of every turn.
- The evasion of a Pokemon with the Sand Veil ability is increased by 20%.
- Solarbeam's Base Power is reduced from 120 to 60.
- Synthesis, Moonlight, and Morning Sun only recover 25% of the user's HP, as opposed to the standard 50%.
- Weather Ball's base power is doubled to 100, and becomes a Rock-type move.
- All Pokemon with Sand Rush have their speed doubled in sandstorm. In addition, non-Rock-, Steel-, and Ground-type Pokemon do not take residual damage from sandstorm.
- All Pokemon with the ability Sand Force have their Ground-type, Rock-type, and Steel-type moves boosted by 30%.
The Sand Streamers
Any successful sandstorm team needs a Sand Streamer. Although only Hippowdon and Tyranitar possess this ability, both of them are great choices and can be easily incorporated into a team. Sandstorm is the only weather condition with two permanent summoners. Therefore, having both Hippowdon and Tyranitar can give advantage against opposing weathers. However, beware of the horrid type synergy they have with common sandstorm abusers. A core that shares a weakness to common attacking types will not be very successful.
Tyranitar is rightfully the more common Sand Streamer. The Special Defense boost effectively bumps Tyranitars BST to staggering 670, rivaling that of common Ubers Pokemon. These good stats across the board allow Tyranitar to be a versatile threat. Common mixed set with Stealth Rock can support sandstorm sweepers by luring physical walls and weakening them. Stealth Rock is another source of passive damage, while a combination of Fire Blast, Ice Beam, Crunch, Superpower, and Stone Edge allows Tyranitar to be a true offensive juggernaut on its own. Choice Band Tyranitar is another viable set that can spell disaster to teams that expect a weaker Tyranitar. It also has significant bulk on both sides to easily switch in and fire off a devastating attack. Pursuit also has much utility as a way to damage Ghost-, Psychic-types, and opposing weather starters without fail. Choice Scarf Tyranitar is also viable in defensive teams as a secondary special wall and revenge killer that can step in and prevent the defensive core from falling into shambles.
However, Tyranitar's typing leaves it with multiple weaknesses to common attacking types. Most Fighting-types such as Scrafty or Conkeldurr can easily switch in, threaten Tyranitar with an OHKO, and find setup opportunities. As a result, any team using Tyranitar needs at least one Fighting-type check such as Gliscor, Slowbro, or Skarmory. Tyranitar also has trouble walling strong special attackers because it is weak to common special attacking types such as Water. Weakness to Earthquake also leaves it vulnerable to opposing sandstorm sweepers such as Excadrill and Landorus. Even with these glaring weaknesses, Tyranitar is a strong Pokemon on its own, and a good supporter with its ability Sand Stream.
Hippowdon is often an overlooked choice, but it is a still a very viable option. With its great Hit Points and physical defensive stat, Hippowdon continues to be a premier physical wall in the Black and White metagame. While most Tyranitar-based sandstorm teams have a weakness to opposing sandstorm sweepers, Hippowdon is a solid stop to most physical attackers. It has a wealth of support options such as Stealth Rock, Roar, Toxic and a reliable recovery move in Slack Off. Also, Hippowdon is no slacker in the offensive department. Possessing an above average base Attack of 112, its attacks surprisingly pack a punch even without investments. It can even run a Choice Band set for the surprise value.
As a defensive Pokemon, Hippowdons significantly weaker Special Defense stands out as its major flaw. Hippowdon can usually solve this issue by running a specially defensive spread that allows him to easily switch in on Ninetales, mixed Tyranitar, and other common threats. Still, strong special threats such as Rotom-W and Politoed can OHKO Hippowdon even with maximum Special Defense investment, so a special wall such as Blissey is a requirement for all teams using Hippowdon. Hippowdon can also force multiple switches with its bulk and Roar, so Spikes support is also helpful. Despite its low usage, Hippowdon is by no means a pushover with proper support from a strong defensive core.
Sandstorm teams are highly regarded for their flexibility, thanks the large variety of abusers and sandstorm setters. While most weather teams have only one auto-weather user, sandstorm teams get to choose between the defensive Hippowdon and the offensive Tyranitar, or both for more chances to keep the sandstorm. With many sweepers that perform well in sandstorm, offensive sandstorm teams are not to be easily dismissed. These teams usually have Pokemon that have an ability that boosts its stats in sandstorm. These teams also make use of the secondary damage to any walls that are not of Steel-, Ground-, or Rock-type. This is crucial for offense teams as walls have to use recovery moves more often and are also more vulnerable without leftovers slowly regaining their health. They have access to Stealth Rock support from Tyranitar, and can proceed to use these passive damages to their advantage. Due to the residual damage caused by sandstorm, stall teams also employ sand setters on their teams. Sand stall teams work by abusing sandstorms residual damage and setting up entry hazards like a normal stall teams. Both Hippowdon and Tyranitar are great defensive Pokemon capable of using Stealth Rock. Also, Toxic Spikes are notorious for piling on the secondary damage along with sandstorm. Stall teams can also utilize the boost to Special Defense that Rock-types get in order to sponge attacks from many powerful special attackers.
However, most sand teams are balanced. This is explained partly as sandstorm is not as easy to offensively abuse as sun or rain. Sun grants offensive boosts to all Fire-types and Chlorophyll Pokemon, while rain grants offensive boosts to all Water- and Electric-types and Swift Swim Pokemon. Sandstorm, on the other hand, does not directly boost the offenses of all but two OU Pokemon. As a result, many sand teams only have a single sandstorm sweeper, supported by a strong defensive core to gradually weaken the opponent with sandstorm, entry hazards, and crippling statuses. The entry hazards are also crucial in wearing down the opposing weather inducer and maintaining the weather advantage. Only after the opposing core is severely weakened would these types of teams attempt a sweep. These types of teams will have a combination of Pokemon recommended for offensive and defensive sand teams.
With all these different types of teams, which Pokemon are the best choices for your sandstorm team? Below is a list of Pokemon that any sand team should consider.
Main Sandstorm Sweepers
Only a few Pokemon are capable of using sandstorm as a game-changing effect. But those few that are able to abuse sandstorm are some of the greatest sweepers in BW, so don't fret. At least one of them are almost guaranteed to be on any remotely offensive sandstorm team due to their sweeping potential. The following are the key abusers of sandstorm and are great choices to keep in mind when constructing a sandstorm team.
Excadrill is one of the most threatening new Pokemon from Black and White. Its ability, Sand Rush, doubles its Speed, allowing it to even outspeed the likes of maximum speed Deoxys-e and Choice Scarf Jolteon. As if this wasnt enough, Excadrill boasts access to Swords Dance and a godly Attack stat of 135. Granted, Excadrill is one of the more unfortunate Pokemon that have Return as a top coverage choice, but its poor movepool does not stop it from sweeping. Rock Slide and Earthquake gives it sufficient coverage, while a choice of X-Scissor, Return, or Brick Break is also available if additional coverage is desired. Excadrill is also an excellent Rapid Spinner, as most spinblockers will think twice before switching in lest it Swords Dance and sweep through their team.
There are only a few Pokemon that can claim the impressive feat of countering Excadrill. Skarmory is capable of walling it and setting up Spikes, but is unable to scratch Excadrill in return. As the last Pokemon, Excadrill can deny any phazing attempts and set up against Skarmory. Physically defensive Quagsire does not care how many Swords Dances Excadrill has, but needs to be healthy to take several Life Orb boosted Earthquakes. Super effective priority such as Conkeldurrs Mach Punch or Azumarills Aqua Jet is another effective check to Excadrill, but most priority users cannot switch in to its strong Earthquake more than once. Gliscor and Bronzong, given that they have Earthquake and another attacking move, are perhaps the best Excadrill counters. They are not only capable of walling Excadrill, but also capable of denting it with an Earthquake of their own.
Landorus is yet another deadly sweeper in sandstorm. Its ability, Sand Force, boosts its Ground-, Rock-type moves by 30% in Sandstorm. While this boost is smaller than the 50% boost that either Sun or Rain grants, it is just enough for Landorus. In fact, the fact that Landorus does not depend entirely on sandstorm makes it an appealing choice. It has a fantastic 101 base Speed, and it can serve as a Choice Scarf user with U-turn or a Swords Dance sweeper.
While not as fast as Excadrill, Landorus is a more versatile offensive threat. Thanks to its above-average Special Attack, Landorus can run a mixed set with Hidden Power of choice to beat physical walls such as Gliscor or Skarmory. It also remains as one of the only viable users of the move Smack Down to strip Skarmory, Rotom-W, and Bronzong of their ground immunity to hit them hard with Sand Force boosted, STAB, and super effective Earthquake for major damage. With so many tricks under its sleeves, Landorus is arguably harder to counter than Excadrill. Priority and revenge killing are the most reliable ways to check this monstrous threat, but usually a generic physical wall or an EdgeQuake resister will be enough.
Terrakion is an example of a Pokemon that has everything necessary for a sweeper. Its dual STAB, Fighting and Rock, provide near-flawless coverage that hits everything bar Toxicroak, Nidoking, and Golurk for neutral damage. Its fantastic 108 base speed means that it outspeeds most of the OU metagame. Terrakion is a good user of Choice Band or Choice Scarf thanks to its fantastic coverage and great speed. It also has access to two great boosting moves in Swords Dance and Rock Polish. Because its STAB attacks are so great, Terrakion can even afford to pack both Swords Dance and Rock Polish, and use the more appropriate boosting move according to the opponent's team. Although sandstorm does not directly boost Terrakion's offensive stats, Terrakion does appreciate the Special Defense boost. In sandstorm, Terrakion can boost its stats in relative safety and proceed to sweep. Sadly, weakness to common priority moves such as Mach Punch, Bullet Punch, and Aqua Jet means that Terrakion is easily revenged. Still, it is a very powerful sweeper that can easily turn the tide of a game.
Other Sandstorm Sweepers
Immunity to sandstorm is a huge boon to many offensive Pokemon in sandstorm teams. The BW metagame is full of passive damages, and sandstorm and Life Orb damage can add up very quickly on top of Stealth Rock and Spikes damage. While these Pokemon do not benefit immensely from sandstorm, they are not harmed by it, either. Still, residual damage from sandstorm can sometimes turn 3HKOs to 2HKOs. What kind of sweeper doesn't appreciate that?
Magnezone is a Pokemon commonly seen on Sandstorm teams due to its ability, Magnet Pull. Magnezone can trap and knock out the Steel-type walls such as Skarmory and Bronzong that are commonly used to check sandstorm sweepers such as Excadrill. Sandstorm sweepers have few airtight counters, so Pokemon that can easily eliminate these troublesome obstacles are very welcome. However, Magnezone is a rather one-dimensional Pokemon; after all Steel-types are removed, Magnezone can attempt to tank with its multiple resistances, or more realistically, serve as a death fodder.
Scizor hasn't changed one bit from DPP, and it is still incredibly effective at what it does. Choice Band and Technician boosted Bullet Punch is still strong, and U-turn is as useful as ever. While the advent of Team Preview has reduced the need for scouting, U-turn is a very safe option that does hefty damage to common threats such as Tyranitar and Reuniclus and keeps the momentum. Scizor can also trap troublesome Pokemon such as Gengar and Latias, with dual threat of Bullet Punch and Pursuit. Scizor can also try to sweep with a Swords Dance set, abusing its strong priority to plow through teams unhindered by Choice Scarf users and faster Pokemon. Even with lackluster STAB walled by several common Pokemon, Scizor manages to make the best out of them with exceptional utility and sheer power.
Lucario is one of the most versatile sweepers in BW OU. With access to crucial boosting moves such as Swords Dance, Nasty Plot, and Agility, it can sweep in many different ways. Often, the opponent will switch in a counter to the wrong variant, allowing Lucario to boost its offensive stats twice. All Lucario desperately need residual damageSwords Dance and Nasty Plot sets require prior damage on anything faster than base Speed 100, while Agility sets struggle to dent defensive walls without outside help. Lucario also appreciates Tyranitar removing bulky Psychic-types and faster Ghost-types out of the picture. For all these reasons, Lucario is an excellent choice for any sandstorm team looking for strong priority and a lategame sweeper.
Due to its unique typing, Heatran can be a very valuable player to a sandstorm team. Its Fire STAB allows Heatran to incinerate opposing Steel-type physical walls that often trouble sandstorm teams. Heatran also possesses other offensive options such as Earth Power, Dragon Pulse, and a choice of Hidden Power. Its support moves include Roar, Taunt, Toxic as well as Stealth Rock, and a specially defensive set can be viable in a defensively oriented team. Heatran is very versatile, and it can use Choice Scarf, Air Balloon, or Substitute to a great effect. Note that most variants of Heatran are a great check to Drought teams, and Heatran is a great choice for sandstorm teams that struggle against sun.
Reuniclus can become a natural fit on Sandstorm teams as its ability, Magic Guard, prevents it from taking residual damage. Since most Sandstorm sweepers are physical, Reuniclus can provide a nice balance to sandstorm teams. Instant recovery and the valuable fighting resist also helps it check troublesome Pokemon such as Conkeldurr. With access to Calm Mind and Trick Room along with its natural bulk, Reuniclus also has no problem sweeping. Offensive Trick Room version does well against opposing offensive teams, while a bulky Calm Mind set can single-handedly destroy a stall team.
The transition from DPP to BW was nothing but a bag of disappointments for Metagross. Explosion nerf meant that Metagross lost its best move, while the advent of Team Preview did not help for a Pokemon that enjoyed consistent top-ten usage as a lead. Still, Metagross is perfect if you desire a Pokemon that can take strong hits and hit back just as hard. Its ridiculous bulk means that even with no defensive investments, it will not be OHKOed by most unSTABbed Earthquakes. Combined with his auspicious typing, this means that Metagross is one of the most reliable Stealth Rock users. Other than its psuedo-signature move Meteor Mash, Metagross also has diverse attacking options in Earthquake, Ice Punch, Bullet Punch, Zen Headbutt, Hammer Arm, and Pursuit. The fact that most Metagross are hopelessly walled by the likes of Skarmory and Forretress is rather disappointing, but it can try to fix this issue by using a mixed set that can break walls and pave way for a late game sweep for Pokemon such as Excadrill.
Other Offensive Pokemon
Stacking Rock-, Ground-, and Steel-type Pokemon is not the best way to build a sandstorm team. It is important to note that every member of a sandstorm team need not benefit directly from sandstorm. In fact, even the most successful sandstorm teams often carry a member or two that takes passive damage from sandstorm. In order to compensate for the sandstorm damage, these Pokemon usually have access to instant recovery. These are a few offensive choices that will often round out a sandstorm team. Note that these are by no means the only Pokemon viable in sand team despite their lack of immunity to sandstorm. This is merely a short list of Pokemon that provide valuable resistances to common weakness of sand teams while matching up well against opposing weathers.
Latias is a prime example of a Pokemon arguably only hindered by sandstorm. Common Latias counters are Tyranitar and Steel-types, meaning sandstorm is not wearing down her counters. On the other hand, Latias loses her valuable leftovers recovery in sandstorm. True merit of using Latias in a sandstorm team is that she solidly counters Drizzle and Drought teams. She switches into opposing weather starters with ease and forces them to switch. This means that you can easily retain the sandstorm, and hence the advantage. She also patches up any weakness to Fighting, Water, Grass, Ground, and other common sandstorm weaknesses.
While most Rotom formes lost its OU status upon losing its Ghost-typing, Rotom-W was able to retain its OU status for a good reason. Water / Electric is a fantastic typing, both offensively and defensively. It gives Rotom-W only one rare weakness in Grass, while providing excellent dual-STAB that nothing bar Grass-types and Gastrodon resist. It also has handy access to Wil-o-wisp to cripple the most common Grass-type, Ferrothorn. In fact, Rotom-W is deceptively bulky with Will-o-wisp and Pain Split, even with little defensive investment. Another plus of Rotom-W is that it is very difficult for rain teams to handleit has resistances to Hydro Pump and Hurricane, while only taking neutral damage from Thunder. After tanking a strong hit, Rotom-W can recover with Pain Split, or retaliate with a strong Thunderbolt that most likely hits the majority of the opposing rain team super effective.
There may be some obvious recurrent patterns in this list of Pokemon; all of them resists Water, resists Ground, and fares well against Rain. Indeed, one of the main reasons that a team with only sandstorm-immune Pokemon cannot succeed is that resistance to Water-type moves are very rare among Ground-, Rock-, and Steel-types. Celebi is yet another possibility for the obligatory Water-type resistance. The most common Nasty Plot set capitalizes on its bulk to set up and plow through teams, but support sets are also viable thanks to its incredibly versatile movepool. Celebi also checks problematic Fighting-types such as Conkeldurr, Virizion, and Breloom with ease. Celebi is also one of the best checks for Rotom-W and its fellow Water- and Electric-types.
Sandstorm Supporters and Walls
Defensive walls always appreciate residual damage to put the opponent on a timer to compensate for their lack of offense. Sandstorm provides yet another source of passive damagealong with entry hazards, it can rack up damage rather quickly. This combined damage will gradually weaken the opposing weather starter, which is always helpful. However, immunity to your own sandstorm is crucial as a defensive Pokemon to fully benefit from sandstorm. The following are great defensive Pokemon made better with sandstorm.
Skarmory remains one of the best Spikers of the game. Skarmory has incredible synergy with Tyranitar, as it can take Bug-, Steel-, Fighting-, and Ground-type moves aimed at Tyranitar, while Tyranitar can cover Skarmory with its ridiculous Special Defense. As the sand inducer will often carry Stealth Rock, Skarmory can focus on placing Spikes that will wear down opposing weather inducers. In a battle against opposing weather, wearing down the opposing weather inducer is crucial. As a result, Skarmory is a good choice for any balanced team wanting Spikes support. Walling opposing sand sweepers such as Excadrill and Landorus is another draw of this steel bird.
Gaining Poison Heal through DW was a godsend to Gliscor. While Poison Heal Gliscor does not have access to Roost, it hardly matters, as Poison Heal Gliscor never needs it to begin with. Gliscor is perhaps the most reliable check to the likes of Bulk Up Conkeldurr and Swords Dance Excadrill. It also has many options: Taunt + Swords Dance set can break stall teams and pose an offensive threat, while Substitute + Protect set can stall indefinitely until the opponent succumbs to Toxic damage and sandstorm. Baton Pass and Sand Veil are other underused options that can be just as devastating. Just like Skarmory, Gliscor is one of the best physical walls in the game, and fares extremely well against opposing sandstorm teams.
Ferrothorn is the new defensive superstar of the BW OU. With great defensive stats and excellent typing, it can soak up most hits with ease. The Steel-type allows it to absorb the omnipresent Dragon-type attacks, while the Grass-type allows resistances to Electric, Water, and other common attacking types. Ferrothorn is also one of the better checks to Drizzle teams thanks to its typing. It also has access to both Stealth Rock and Spikes, making it a good choice for an entry hazard supporter. It can also hit back rather hard with Power Whip and Gyro Ball. Indeed, Grass and Steel are not the best attacking types, but its respectable base Attack and high Base Power moves are more than enough to compensate. Sadly, lack of reliable recovery and weakness to common attacking types such as Fire and Fighting severely limits its durability. Still, it is a great choice for any sand team wanting entry hazards, a defensive pivot, or a sturdy tank.
Forretress remains the premier entry hazard user of BW OU. With access to Stealth Rock, Spikes, Toxic Spikes, and Rapid Spin, Forretress is able to provide any type of support relating to hazards. Toxic Spikes get special mention, as it is a rare commodity limited to Forretress, Tentacruel, and other forgettable UU Pokemon. Forretress also gains a new option in Volt Switchwhile it is a weak special move with low Base Power, it allows Forretress to escape the clutches of Magnezone, and gain momentum on the multiple switches that Forretress can force. However, Forretress cannot be relied upon to lay down multiple hazards due to the lack of reliable recovery. Hence, Wish support from the likes of Blissey is recommended to get the most mileage out of Forretress.
Jirachi can fill many roles for a team with incredible movepool and 100 base stats across the board. While Jirachi is listed as a defensive Pokemon, keep in mind that it has the option to go on the offensive with a Calm Mind set, a mixed variant, or a Choice Scarf set. Jirachi's typing really sets it apart as one of the best Latios checks available, and with Wish and Special Defense investments, it can take most neutral special attacks with ease and heal its teammates with Wish. Jirachi can also fill the role of a status spreader. Body Slam, Thunder Wave, and Iron Head are all options for paralysis support and general annoyance. You should not rely on Iron Head flinches, but it is a bonus that can bail you out of tough situations.
Overshadowed by Swampert for two whole generations, Quagsire finally has something to boast. Unaware is a fantastic ability that stops set-up sweepers such as the likes of Conkeldurr and Excadrill in their tracks. Ground / Water is also a fantastic defensive typing that allows it to counter most variants with Thundurus with ease, given that it does not carry the uncommon Grass Knot. With an instant recovery in Recover, Quagsire can be incredibly difficult to crack, as it does not care about boosted hits. Stockpile and Curse are also viable options to boost its defenses and make it even harder to take down. While Quagsire is instantly forced out by any Grass-type, it is an excellent defensive Pokemon that should not be underestimated.
Gastrodon is another Water / Ground-type wall that is no longer outclassed by Swampert. Storm Drain mechanics in BW has changed so that Storm Drain user not only takes zero damage from Water-type moves, but also gets +1 boost to its Special Attack. Now immune to Water and Electric-type moves, Gastrodon can serve as a fantastic check to likes of Thundurus, Rotom-W, and other common Drizzle abusers. With great Special Defense and Recover, it can even tank a surprise HP Grass from the likes of Scarf Politoed, Recover, and switch out. Since Gastrodon has lackluster offenses even with Storm Drain, status moves such as Toxic is a good choice, as it is otherwise unable to do much back to the Water-types it can counter. Gastrodon is a full stop to most Water- and Electric-types, and a well-played Gastrodon can be a nuisance to any Drizzle team.
Bronzong is a rather overlooked choice for a defensive Pokemon. Its good typing and Levitate leaves a single weakness to Fire, and access to Stealth Rock, dual screens, and Trick Room makes Bronzong a fine support Pokemon. Bronzong also resists both Ground and Rock-type moves, a common attacking combination utilized by many overused physical attackers. It can also use HP Ice to check common threats such as Gliscor and other Dragon-types that do not take enough damage from Gyro Ball. As one of the two levitating Steel-types, Bronzong is inevitably compared with Skarmory. Lack of Spikes, recovery move, or phazing move hurts Bronzong, but it can still be an effective supporter for offensive team needing a sponge, or a part of a defensive core with Wish support.
Other Defensive Pokemon
Blissey is always an option for any type of defensive team, including defensive sandstorm teams. Even with the power creep, the pink blob still remains the best special wall in the game. Chansey gives Blissey much competition, but Blissey is undoubtably the better special sponge in sandstorm for a single reason: Eviolite will often leave Chansey very prone to residual damage. Thanks to the new Wish mechanics, Blissey's wishes will now heal ~300HP, equivalent of 80% for most Pokemon, and even 100% for some Pokemon with smaller HP. This makes her the best Wish user in the game, and she can easily support Pokemon without reliable recovery, such as Forretress. As Blissey has relatively low Defense, she is easily mauled by the likes of Conkeldurr and Terrakion. Therefore, Pokemon with high Defense such as Gliscor can be a great help. Entry hazard users such as Forretress are also recommended to take advantage of the multiple switches Blissey can force. Also, note that Blissey is not an end-all be-all counter to all special threatsCalm Mind Reuniclus, Specs Latios with Psyshock, and Subsplit Gengar are examples of special threats that Blissey cannot handle alone. Hence, teammates such as Choice Scarf Tyranitar can help as a secondary special sponge.
Dream World has given Slowbro an incredible asset in Regeneration. With Slack Off, Regeneration, and its already impressive defenses, Slowbro can be a pain to take out without special attackers. Slowbros biggest niche in a sand team is that it can not only counter most Fighting-types that beat Tyranitar, but also soak up Water- and Fire-type attacks that more common Fighting-type resistors such as Gliscor is unable to take. Slowbro also has multiple attacking options such as Scald, Psychic, and Fire Blastwith decent base Special Attack of 100, Slowbro is no slouch offensively. Slowbro tends to give a safe switch-in to many threatening Pokemon such as Latios, but a timely Toxic or Thunder Wave on the switch should be enough to cripple them for the remainder of the match. While Slowbro is rather vulnerable status itself, it is one of the best physical walls available despite its UU status.
Tentacruel's niche has always been, and always will be, Toxic Spikes. Tentacruel does not appreciate sandstorm cancelling out its only source of recovery. However, its Toxic Spikes can be a massive help to any defensive team. Teammates such as Substitue + Protect Gliscor are excellent choices to abuse the sandstorm and Toxic Spikes damage. Tentacruel also provides a valuable Water-type resistance, and can fare well against Drizzle teams thanks to Rain Dish recovery. Thanks to its mediocre offenses, Tentacruel is generally limited to purely defensive teams. Because the lack of reliable recovery is more troublesome on a defensive team, Wish support from Blissey or Jirachi is highly recommended to use Tentacruel to its full potential.
Other than the suggested Pokemon above, there are many more options for a sandstorm team. Rock-types such as Cradily, Shuckle, and Rhyperior receive a 50% boost in Special Defence, a nice complement to their natural bulk. Cradily has an interesting DW ability, Storm Drain, which turns Cradily into a handy check to rain teams. Rhyperior is able to crush unprepared teams with its insane attack and bulk. However, they are underused options for a reason. Cradily is offensively challenged even with multiple Curses under its belt, while Stockpile sets will not accomplish much and fall to an eventual critical hit. Its inability to dent Steel-types seriously hurts Cradily. On the other hand, Rhyperior still cannot hope to tank super effective special attacks, lest it sacrifice its offensive power. The fact that Rhyperior do not fare well against opposing weather teams does not help. While they certainly benefit from sandstorm, there are often better options to choose from.
Of course, Rock-type Pokemon are not the only Pokemon that appreciate sandstorm. Sadly, Sand Force, Sand Rush, and Sand Veil have poor distribution, and the majority of those who get these rare abilities, bar already mentioned Excadrill and Landorus, are either underwhelming or have better abilities to choose. For example, Gliscor has Poison Heal over Sand Veil, while Gastrodon has Storm Drain over Sand Force. Stoutland can be an interesting option thanks to coverage moves such as Ice Fang, Fire Fang, and Wild Charge, but it has poor typing and weak offensive stats. Sand Veil, as with other luck-based abilities, cannot be relied upon, and therefore is not recommended. With banning of Garchomp, Sand Veil is stuck with RU Pokemon anyways, and good luck sweeping with Cacturne or Sandslash in OU. Still, these options may be viable in UU with support from Eviolite Hippopotas.
This section will deal with common weaknesses of sandstorm teams, and how to overcome them.
These teams are always a major threat, threatening both Tyranitar and Hippowdon. With rain up, Water-type attacks are boosted by 50%, as well as increasing Thunder and Hurricanes (120 BP attacks) accuracy to 100%, and giving Pokemon with Dry Skin and Rain Dish abilities an extra form of recovery. As well as offering Steel-types and Grass-types solitude with a 50% damage reduction from Fire-type attacks. The rain also doubles the speed of Pokemon with the Swift Swim ability in the rain. Fortunately, since they were such a large threat to the metagame, Drizzle teams were nerfed with a ban on having the ability Drizzle and Swift Swim on the same team. Nevertheless, Drizzle teams still have a number of hard hitting abusers and should never to be taken lightly. It is always a must to have at least one or two pokemon in your sandstorm team to keep rain team members in check. Most rain teams consist of special attackers with Water- and Electric-types as their main STAB and hence all have similar checks: Pokemon with great special defense, resistances or immunity to Water-type, and supporters of rain teams. Such supporters include: Ferrothorn, Gastrodon, Chansey, Blissey, Tentacruel, Jellicent, Celebi, Latias, Latios, and Rotom-W.
The supporter of permanent rain, Politoed has made a great impact on today's metagame with its newly bestowed Dream World ability, Drizzle. Whilst the impact it has on Pokemon is largely due to the vast number and sheer power of its abusers, Politoed is definitely no slacker itself. Its above average bulk and decent base 90 Special Attack (with the 50% Water-type attack boost provided by rain) allows it to run a variety of sets, from a defensive status spreader/pseudophazer (Scald / Toxic / Encore / Perish Song) to a hard hitting Choice Specs set or even a Choice Scarfed revenge killer. All in all, Politoed is a major threat to sandstorm teams with both Tyranitar and Hippowdon being weak to water. Special walls are always good to have on your sandstorm team to keep the Toed in check like Jellicent, Chansey, Ferrothorn, Tentacruel and Gastrodon. Defensive Politoed sets hate Toxic or burns as it eventually wears it down and choiced sets require good playing around with and hazard support limiting the number of times it can switch in to your Tyranitar / Hippowdon. It is also worth noting that Pursuit Tyranitar can also deal with weakened Politoeds if it comes in safely preventing it from switching back in and setting up rain again and turning the tide of the battle in your favour.
Starmie has been OU in every Gen since the first and for a good reason too. Despite not receiving any significant buffs this Gen, Starmie still boasts its blistering 115 base speed that laughs at everything in the OU tier except Deoxys-S, as well as having an above average base 100 Special attack and access to high powered moves such as Hydro Pump and Thunder, meaning it is able to abuse Rain to its fullest. Sand teams will not appreciate a 50% boosted Hydro Pump, 100% Thunder and Ice Beam (for coverage) so it is essential to have a check somewhere on your team for it. Chansey/Blissey has always been its top counter since 1st/3rd gen and still does a great job against it this Gen, but 5th Gen has also given us bulky waters worst enemy: Ferrothorn, as well as Storm Drain Gastrodon, the former being able to tank any hits from Starmie and OHKO back with Power Whip and the latter being immune to both Water and Electric attacks. Both of these work well on any sand team. If you lack these 3 Pokemon, it is of high importance that you keep your weather up (for Excadrill) or have a reliable scarfed revenge killer that can take care of the starfish. Starmies downfall has always been its lack of bulk meaning it won't last too long on the field with sandstorm up as well as good playing on your account.
Even with its high attacking prowess, it is also worth noting that Starmie can also serve as a great support 'mon to a Rain team with access to Rapid Spin (and being able to KO OU's top 2 rapid spinners: Jellicent and Gengar) and its ability Natural Cure, getting rid of hazards that can plague a rain team as well as absorbing status. So be wary of setting up hazards too early whilst there is still a healthy Starmie on your opponents team. Tyranitar can also tank a hit or 2 from Starmie and OHKO with Crunch but should be a last resort as keeping Tyranitar in good health is essential for winning weather wars against Rain teams.
With great Electric/Flying typing that resists a significant number of things and an awesome movepool (that includes Nasty Plot to boost its SAtk to astronomical levels), combined with a mind boggling 125 base SAtk, decent 115 Atk if it needs to go mixed and a trolly base 111 speed that outspeeds significant pokemon like Gengar, the Latis and the musketeer Mons, means that Thundurus is definitely a major major threat to any kind of team including Sand teams. It has 2 main sets: support/sweeper and Nasty Plot sweeper, the former aiding a rain team immensely with Priority T-wave to cripple sweepers and Taunt for stall breaking, and the latter being its most dangerous set threatening almost the entire tier if given the opportunity to setup even once. It doesn't gain much from Rain except being able to shoot off 100% accurate 120 BP Thunders and not having to worry about being outsped by Excadrill and Chlorophyllers. With BoltHPice and Focus Blast/Hammer Arm/Grass Knot, almost nothing can safely switch into Thundurus without risking getting severely damaged. It can setup on alot of rain checks such as Chansey and Ferrothorn that lack T-wave. It's one true counter is Unaware Quagsire and Gastrodon (if it doesn't run Grass Knot) and hence the most reliable way to take it down is by revenge killing or exploiting its Stealth Rock weakness. This means that like Starmie, it is essential to have your weather up in order to let Excadrill take care of it, or have a reliable scarfed mon that can KO it. Bringing in your Tyranitar or Hippowdon against it is NOT advisable as Focus Blast/Hammer Arm or HP Ice can KO your sandstreamer and allow your opponent to gain the upper hand in terms of weather.
Despite having the exact same stats, this Pokemon is largely considered an inferior version of its big brother Thunderus, but there is one thing that Tornadus holds that no Thundurus can dream of having: access to Hurricane, a 120 BP STABed Flying type move. Its shaky accuracy is upped to perfection with rain up meaning it would be so much easier to spam. Tornadus are usually seen with the Choice Specs set (Hurricane, Focus Blast, HP[Ice][Grass], U Turn) or mixed since it has quite a nice pool of physical attacks to compliment its 115 base Atk. Though not as threatening to Sand teams as Thundurus and Starmie, Tornadus do always pack Focus Blast/Hammer Arm or Grass Knot (like Thundurus) making you think twice about sending in your Tyranitar or Hippowdon against it. Its best counters are specially defensive Jirachi and Chansey/Blissey at full health or even other Electric 'mons like Rotom-W and Thundurus (Lanturn sucks in OU). Bulky waters like Tentacruel and Jellicent do ok against it too since it doesn't have Thunderbolt/Thunder that makes Thundurus much more threatening. It is also much easier to deal with with Sandstorm and SR up since Hurricanes accuracy remains at 70 and its frailty and SR weakness means it won't last long on the field.
Despite all the other formes falling from OU after losing their Ghost typing this Gen, Rotom Wash remains a top tier Pokemon with its Water/Electric typing combined with its ability Levitate (which lets it come in on ease against Landoruses and Excadrills EQs) giving it only one Type weakness: grass. Rotom-W is an example of a pokemon that can fully abuse Rain, as it is able to shoot of STABed 50% boosted Hydro Pumps and 100% accurate Thunders. It is a top threat to Sand teams as its STABed attacks and very good bulk lets it take hits oh so well and threaten common Sandstorm team members like Landorus, Excadrill, Hippowdon and Tyranitar. It can also run Choiced sets with Trick allowing it to not only get some surprise KOs but able to cripple your walls. Defensive sets are even harder to take down as it can Will o Wisp to cripple your physical sweepers and Pain Split to gain health when needed. Your best bets at stopping Rotom-Ws are your ever so generic special walls: Ferrothorns, Chansey/Blissey, Gastrodons, as well as Celebi, the Lati twins and Virizion/Breloom. They all wouldn't appreciate getting burnt or Tricked though. Another way to wear it down is by way of status (Toxic, Burn) as Rotom-Ws only reliable way of recovery is Pain Split (Rest is hardly seen anymore).
Despite having **** poor defences and an average Atk stat, Toxicroak fits perfectly on any rain team, offering resistances and immunity to common attacking types such as Water, Fighting, Bug, Grass and Rock, as well as being able to absorb toxic spikes that would otherwise plague rain teams. Its main selling point though is its ability Dry Skin that gives it immunity and healing to water attacks and an extra 6.25% HP recovery every turn in rain allowing it to setup on Pokemon that would normally trouble Rain teams such as Ferrothorn, Chansey/Blissey, Tentacruel, and Virizion etc. Toxicroaks are usually seen with a SubSwords Dance set or SubBulk Up set (and at times, Nasty plot which is rare but still viable) with Drain Punch and Sucker Punch for decent coverage. It is beaten by generic physical walls such as Gliscor, Slowbro and Hippowdon that can tank a hit or 2 and threaten to KO it with EQ/Psychic or phaze with roar, and also other 'mons like Taunt Jellicent, Bold Reunicluses and Roar Latias. Note that some Toxicroaks run Ice Punch to surprise incoming Gliscors and Dragons, but since it is incompatible with Drain Punch, you can be aware of it if you see that it has something other than Drain Punch (like Brick Break or Cross Chop). Though it is not a good idea to bring in your Tyranitar against it, having sandstorm up severely dents its ability to setup with ease and allows you to deal with it better.
Previously forgotten in the past after all the hype with Black and Whites release, Calm Mind Rachi makes its way back into competitive play with permanent rain giving it much needed reduced damage from Fire attacks as well as being able to fire off 100% accurate Thunders (with Serene Grace giving it 60% chance to paralyze) and boosted Water Pulses (with Serene grace, 30% chance to confuse). The set (Calm Mind, Substitue, Thunder, Water Pulse/Psyshock) aims to use serene grace to its fullest with the infamous parafusion as well as, like Toxicroak, allow it to setup with ease on Pokemon that normally trouble rain teams, such as Ferrothorn and Chansey/Blissey (with the trolly 101 Subs of course) and lastly, lure out counters to its normal set (Body Slam, Iron Head) such as Gliscor, Jellicent and Skarmory, only to be hit in the face with boosted Water Pulses or Thunders. Though becoming common now, CMRachi is definitely a threat to unprepared Sand teams and must never be given the opportunity to setup. The 3 best pokemon that stop CMRachi cold are Storm Drain Gastrodon, Celebi (either Nasty Plot or Perish Song) and Unaware Quagsire (getting a trend here). Specially defensive Tyranitar brush off its attacks with ease but at the same time can't do much back without Earthquake (which is meh on tyranitar), and Hippowdon with all its bulk can take +1 or +2 water pulses if at good health and Roar it away or EQ for the 2hko.
The main Pokemon seen on any sun team, compared to other weather inducers, Ninetales looks heavily outclassed. While all other weather inducers (except Hail) have a severe type advantage over it, the questions arises whether it can really have an impact on the weather war? The answer is yes, on the hands of a good player, sun is a devastating force to be reckoned with. Stealth Rock is essential when playing against sun teams. Because Ninetales will take 25% damage every switch-in, aiding you greatly in the weather war. Ninetales has a few notable sets. The Calm Mind set, Specially Defensive Will-O-Wisp set and Nasty Plot set. While they can't really do much damage off that 83 Base Special Attack stat, Will-O-Wisp can burn Tyranitar and Hippowdon cutting down their attack and crippling them badly. Access to Energy Ball is not that great and Tyranitar with the Special Defense boost in the sand can wall it and threaten to OHKO with a Super Effective Stone Edge. Hypnosis can be a bit of an annoyance if it hits, putting on of your Pokemon to sleep. Speedier versions of Ninetales can outspeed Excadrill and OHKO with the Sun boosted Flamethrower so its not a good idea to keep Excadrill on Ninetales.
Heatran is typically used as a Stealth Rock supporter. However, it also has great offensive capabilities, especially in a sun team (raising its Fire-type attacks by 50% and weakening Water-type attacks by 50%). The main aim of a sun team with Heatran is to lure a Fire-type attack for a Pokemon such as Venusaur (or a similar Chlorophyll Grass type user) and get the Flash Fire boost. You're really not going to enjoy a Sun boosted, STAB, Flash Fire boosted Fire type move from a massive base Special Attack of 130 Base. Heatran isn't really dangerous for a Sand team as long as it has Sandstorm up. It can cause few problems for Tyranitar if it switches onto an Earth Power but really doesn't have much ways of boosting its Special Attack to create much havoc. Tyranitar can normally handle any variation of Heatran as long as it doesn't have to take too much Earth Powers. Specially Defensive Hippowdon can threaten to OHKO it with Earthquake and use Slack off to heal any damage taken. For Choice item versions sand teams can equip themselves with a Heatran to take down Choiced versions locked into a Fire attack and threaten it with Earth Power. Gastrodon can also walk all over any Heatran without Hidden Power Grass.
Volcanora is one of the deadlier sun sweepers you can find. Almost all sun teams run Rapid Spinners cancelling out Ninetails weakness to Stealth Rocks, so it works very well for Volcarona too and it is one of the few fire Pokemon dangerous to a sand team. After a Quiver Dance Volcarona can Super effectively hit Tyranitar with STAB Bug Buzz and severly dent it. Specially Defensive Hippowdon can't really do much to it due to the neutral damage taken from Earthquake thanks to its Bug/Fire typing. After 2 Quiver Dances, it outspeeds Jolly Excadrill in sand and will most probably sweep your entire team. The normal variation of Volcarona seen in Sun teams is Chesto Berry + Rest + Quiver Dance combo. Even with Bug Buzz and Fiery Dance (which has a very nice chance of boosting its amazing SpA.) it can sweep entire teams after Quiver Dancing about 2 times and Resting off the damage. To deal with Volcarona very efficiently it is recommended that you try to keep Stealth Rock in play always, making it take 50% damage on its switch in. Heatran can wall it long as it doesn't have Hidden Power Ground (If it has HP Ground or any other attacking move other than Bug Buzz and Fiery Dance/Flamethrower/Fire Blast, it must not be having rest making it slightly easier to deal with) Heatran can also phaze it around with Roar forcing it to take more Stealth Rock damage upon switching in again. Excadrill in sand can outspeed +1 Speed Volcarona. Tentacruel can also check it decently.
Venusaur is probably the best sun sweeper in the current metagame. Having access to Growth, which boosts both its Special Attack and Attack stat by 2 stages in sun allowing it to become a mixed monster AND having access to Chlorophyll as an ability makes it potentially the best sun sweeper. Lots of people are fans of the Special sweeping Venusaur possesing Giga Drain, Hidden Power Fire/Ice, Sludge Bomb and Growth. While that can tear holes in many teams and has the capability to hit Tyranitar and Hippowdon for Supereffective STAB damage it is entirely walled and beaten by Heatran. The mix set is more dangerous due to Venusaur packing Earthquake to deal massive damage to the likes of Tyranitar and Heatran. Power Whip is also used in place of Giga Drain for the extra power but it is a loss of recovery for Venusaur and will decrease its longevity. The mixed version doesn't really have a check because it can has many attacks to choose from. The best thing to do is get another weather in place before it sets up. Choice Scarf Tyranitar can also outspeed it and threaten to deal some damage with a suitable move. Without sun it is not much of a threat however with sun ... the mixed version is difficult to deal with without knowing what attacks it might be running.
Sawsbuck is obviously seen as a physical sweeper. It has access to Chlorophyll and 100 Base Attack stat with a unique move called Horn Leech, which is a physical Grass type HP draining move. Also it has access to Sword Dance to boost its attack and in the sun can cause a few troubles. Its movepool is somewhat limited while there are some worthy attacks to notice, namely, Horn Leech, Jump Kick, Wild Charge. That is basically the only set you will be seeing. Maybe some will have Return or Frustration for the STAB but normally its Swords Dance and the above mentioned attacks. The set and Sawsbuck itself are walled hard by Gliscor who can in return do some damage with Acrobatics / Aerial Ace or Ice Fang.
Darmantian has everything it needs to be a threat on a sun team. STAB Flare Blitz coming off 140 Base Atk will demolish nearly anything that doesn't resist it. Fortunately, this beast has very weak defenses and a bulk of HP. However it does have a nice 95 Base Speed to take advantage of a Band or Scarf. And about 90% of the time you're sure to be running into an either banded or scarfed Darmantian. Darmantian using choice Flare Blitz can be taken on by Heatran getting the Flash Fire boost while at it. Otherwise, Slowbro does a nice job of walling Darmantian except for U-Turn. Excadrill can handle it in sand obviously.
Vicitini can be handled exactly like the way you handle Darmantian. Consider it, without Darmantian's high attack stat, but with the bulk and a high power move called V-Create which drops speed, SDef and Defense by 1 stage after being used. Normally Band or Scarf versions of Vicitini can be seen in Sun teams. Band Versions can be handled by Slowbro but however having access to Fusion Bolt may cause problems for Slowbro. Heatran is also a very solid counter to any version (physical, special and mixed). The special version can be easily handled by Tyranitar thanks to the SDef boost it receives from Sandstorm.
Conkeldurr can be introduced as one of the top threats to a Sandstorm team. Its bulk and power combined together with its typing immediately spells disaster for a Sandstorm team if its lacking the appropriate counters or checks. The main reason why this applies to Sandstorm teams is that, Tyranitar (who is the most prominent Sand Stream inducer in the current metagame) and Excadrill who is the main sweeper or powerhouse in a Sand Team are both weak to it massively. It can easily come on at Tyranitar threaten to OHKO it or grab a Bulk Up boost and proceed to cause major issues in any team. It has Recovery in the STAB form of Drain Punch. You're not going to enjoy taking Drain Punches from a 140 BASE Attack let alone boosted. Also, the main selling point of Conkeldurr is its ability. Which is known as Guts. It boosts Attack whenever Conkeldurr is affected by a major status problem. The last thing you'd want to do is boost that attack stat. Anyway, as much as threatening Conkeldurr is to a Sand team, it's not uncounterable. Assuming you're running a Sand team. SpecsLatios is a very good check for Conkeldurr. It can either come in when one Pokemon dies to Conkeldurr (or you can sacrifice) and either scare Conkeldurr away with its Draco Meteor and do some hefty damage to whatever switches in or you can OHKO Conkeldurr if it decides to stay in. Calm Mind Recover Reuniclus is also a nice check for Conkeldurr. It has impressive bulk with the EV Spread of 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SDef (Bold Nature) to take the Paybacks aimed at it and because Conkeldurr is faster Payback will only be 50 BP and Reuniclus can either use Psychic or attempt to set up using Recover when necessary. Gliscor can also be considered as a solid counter. While resisting Drain Punch (Conkeldurr's main way of recovering damage) Gliscor can try to Sword Dance and hit it hard with its STAB moves or Acrofling Gliscor and try to Fling its Toxic Orb to badly Poison and use its now 110 BP STAB Acrobatics to deal some damage to Conkeldurr while using Protect frequently for the Toxic damage to add up. (This way can turn into a bit of a gamble though and can be problematic if you have already flung your Toxic Orb at another Pokemon, but if so, it means your not activating the dangerous Guts and still dealing the 110 STAB Acrobatic damage.) Skarmory can also check it efficiently using Brave Bird and Whirlwind to prevent it from setting up. But, yes, Skarmory might have difficulties with it due to the reason that it doesn't resist Drain Punch. Of course, if you're looking for one of the most solid counters for Conkeldurr you can't forget Slowbro. Sporting an amazing physical bulk and decent special attack stat, resisting Conkeldurr's Drain Punch and getting outsped by Conkeldurr making Payback only 50 BP, having access to STAB Psychic, having access to Slack Off, having access to Regeneration it seems like its been created sorely to defeat Conkeldurr. All of the above Pokemon work fairly well in Sand Storm while Slowbro and Latios take damage each, Latios isn't a wall to last long anyway, Leftovers combined with Regeneration will ensure the longevity of Slowbro.
Terrakion is difficult to explain. It can be much more dangerous than other fighting types and much less dangerous than other fighting types to a Sandstorm team. If Conkeldurr boasted Bulk and power, Terrakion boasts speed and power plus the Special Defense boost obtained by the Sandstorm. But unlike Conkeldurr, Terrakion's main strength lies in its versatility. It has access to 2 best boosting moves in the entire metagame. Rock Polish and Sword Dance. Some sets, carry both Sword Dance and Rock Polish. Also, Scarf sets and Band sets are popular too. The Scarf and Band sets are intimidating but can be played around easily. The main problem lies with the Rock Polish and Sword Dance sets. After a Sword Dance standard Terrakion (252 ATK / 252 Speed / 4 HP [Jolly Nature] boasts 714 Attack and after a Rock Polish it boasts a 692 Speed, helping it to easily outspeed Sand Rush Excadrill and OHKO it with Close Combat. For Standard Choiced sets. Gliscor can come in and attempt to Earthquake it. Slowbro can come in and attempt to burn it with Scald or Thunder-Wave it. Sandstorm makes Terrakion's SDef rise upto 324 so attacking it with Special moves might be some trouble. Its weak to priority Bullet Punch and Mach Punch so Pokemon like Scizor and Conkeldurr can also hit him hard with their STAB priority moves. Also, don't forget that its main attacking move, Close Combat, drops both of its defenses by 1 stage each time its used. Also, non-Rock Polish sets and non-balloon sets can be taken cared with Excadrill after sacrificing a Pokemon.
Infernape, the weaker cousin of Blaziken in 5th gen is still a devastating force to be reckoned with. Infernape's versatility is obviously its most dangerous weapon against any team. Sandstorm teams are no exceptions. Sporting a 104 in each offensive stats it hard to determine whether its Physical or Special or mixed. What a Sand team mostly should be concerned is it's two STAB priorities. It gets both Mach Punch and Vacuum Wave. Its hard to find a counter or check for the mixed version. The physical version can be taken cared of easily by Slowbro and Gliscor, the special version can be handled by Latios or a similar Pokemon that resists its STAB Fighting and Fire, Slowbro and Gastrodon works really well to if it lacks Grass Knot. The mixed version can be handled by Slowbro since Grass Knot is not that popular anymore. Excadrill can survive a Mach Punch at around 80% health and proceed to OHKO with Earthquake. Hippowdon can take it fairly well assuming no Grass Knot and almost all bulky waters such as Suicune, Jellicent, Vaporeon can wall it crippling it or killing it in the process.
Scrafty, is not that powerful, yet with a typing that is immune Psychic type makes it very annoying to deal with it. Its ability Shed Skin makes statuses near useless. Its offenses ain't nothing destructive as other fighting Pokemon, but it has more than decent bulk and and access to the famed Dragon Dance move and Bulk Up moves. Scrafty can't really be walled by Gliscor or Slowbro like other fighting type Pokemon. It will definitely carry Ice Punch for Gliscor and use Slowbro as a setup bait and will probably use the Rest + Shed Skin combo to attempt a full blown sweep on your team. Scrafty has two weaknesses, fighting and flying. Almost any Fighting type Pokemon can come on it. Scare it away or just smash it with a STAB fighting type of their own. Non-Dragon Dance varients are easily outsped due to its mediocre 58 Base Speed stat. Conkeldurr can easily come in at any move before it sets up too much and maybe squeeze a bulk up or two on its own or threaten it with its powerful Drain Punch. Skarmory can do the job in phazing it and setting up Spikes against it because its unboosted or a +1 Drain Punch from it isn't that threatening for Skarmory.
Once known as the "Most Versatile Sweeper of the game" its title was not a fluke. Boasting excellent offensive stats of 110 Base Attack and 115 Base Special Attack and having access to boosting moves such as Nasty Plot, Sword Dance and Agility makes Lucario a Top Class sweeper, also it has access to Extremespeed, Bullet Punch and Vacuum Wave. It can seriously threaten almost all members of a Sandstorm team and leave its core in pieces if the player doesn't realize what kind of a varient the opponent is running. Looking in depth, nothing can hold up well against a LO Lucario, even Skarmory takes a hefty chunk of damage from Close Combat. The Physical version can be walled by either Gliscor or Slowbro depending on what filler move their running. Ice Punch will make Slowbro's life easy while Crunch will make Gliscor's life easy. Excadrill can beat an ordinary Physical version without balloon since it resists Extremespeed. Ice Punch versions can be walled quite easily by Jellicent while being immune to Extremespeed and Close Combat while Tentacruel, Jellicent and Gastrodon can take care of the special versions of Lucario well and hopefully can burn or cripple it with Scald, since its unaffected by Toxic. (Blissey does an OK job and can hope to paralyze it but that also takes some damage from the Nasty Plot Aura Sphere STA
Virizion is an underrated sweeper which can tear holes in a sandstorm team like any other fighting Pokemon there is. At first it may seem like a less powerful but much more bulky Breloom. Yes, but unlike Breloom it is capable of running both Physical sets and Special sets due to the access to moves such as Calm Mind and Swords Dance. Calm Mind Version is mostly the dangerous for a Sand Storm team. Since it can kill a lot of things that would wall normally fighting Pokemon. Giga Drain wouldn't please Jellicent and other bulky waters that much, seeing their health drained. Hidden Power Ice would lay waste to Gliscor and Focus Blast will most probably 2HKO Tyranitar (OHKO after a Calm Mind) and Excadril can't OHKO without a SD (unless it runs Aerial Ace which I highly doubt it does) If we're taking the physical version into regard it can run Sword Dance / Close Combat / Leaf Blade / (Stone Edge/X-Scissor). The physical version is easily walled by Gliscor and also Skarmory since it lacks the power to do much. For the special version SpecsLatios can switch into any non-boosted attack and any boosted Focus Blast and Giga drain and proceed to threaten it with a Draco Meteor. Liquid Ooze Tentacruel can also handle Virizion while having a move like Sludge Bomb. Faster physical Pokemon bearing a super-effective move can also easily revenge kill all versions of Virizion since it lacks physical bulk.
Breloom is a threat in two ways. It has a very nice ability called Poison Heal and most players run Toxic Orb on it to prevent status and regain HP at the same time. It also has access to the move Spore, a 100% accurate sleep inducing move. This allows Breloom to be a huge threat to any Pokemon because Spore practically makes one of your Pokemon when sleep is induced. Most sandstorm teams use Toxic Orb Gliscor with Poison Heal ability to negate Breloom's sleep infliction. Gliscor is perhaps the best counter to Breloom in OU for that matter, especially with its ability to resist Fighting-type attacks and its mammoth 125 base Defense allows it to easily take physcial damage. While also recovering 12.5% HP per turn thanks to Poison Heal. Other great checks to Breloom are Reuniclus, Latias, Celebi, Sigilyph, Deoxys-D, Mew, and Xatu. They're all able to resist Breloom's incredibly power Focus Punch attack and KO back with a Psychic-type move. Xatu is able to use its Magic Bounce ability to bounce Breloom's Spore attack onto itself, a great way to stop Breloom.
Mienshao is mostly used as a Fake Out lead. Its frail, fast and powerful and has the access to a great ability, Regeneration. Normally it has only one set. Fake Out / Hi Jump Kick / Hidden Power Ice / U-Turn. Although it has the access to Sword Dance it is rarely seen. Sword Dance varients can easily be handled by Gliscor. But in a lead position it will almost 90% of the time have the above mentioned set. Hi Jump Kick will hurt most of your sand team. But in truth, Mienshao is one of the easier Pokemon to check. It has priority as means of Fake Out. Therefore Excadrill can come on when something dies and proceed to OHKO it with a powerful STAB Earthquake. Gliscor can't handle the standard varient because of Hidden Power Ice. 1v1 Slowbro beats Mienshao any day. Another counter will be Jellicent. Immune to Hi Jump Kick, resistant to HP Ice and having access to Recover and Scald will make all Mienshao there suffer in pain.
Machamp, is a very annoying Pokemon to deal with. 100% accuracy on all its moves are big plus point for the Dynamic Punch and you know someones gonna get Confused after the turn is done unless you switch a ghost type Pokemon. But this hunk carries Payback for ghost types. Its not going to be enjoyable. It has a variety of moves including Ice Punch, Stone Edge, Bullet Punch, Dynamic Punch, Payback. Gliscor deals well with varients lacking Ice Punch while Slowbro can Scald and burn while not taking too much from Payback. Latios can come in after something dies and can shoot off powerful Draco Meteors knocking it out or forcing it to switch.
Scizor: Scizor usually come in two variants, SDRoost or Choice Band. Scizor is very versatile, it can be a scouter with Choice Banded U-turn, a trapper with Pursuit, or a full on sweeper with Swords Dance and Technician boosted Bullet Punch. Choice Banded sets are very deadly, seeing as nothing is immune to U-turn giving Scizor the upper hand, while on the other hand, SDRoost can easily sweep your whole team with the appropriate support. Even with such versatility, Scizor has one major backlash which is his x4 weakness to fire moves. Pokemon such as Heatran and Infernape can easily check Scizor and force him to switch, but they have to watch out for Superpower with most banded Scizors carry. Steel types such as Skarmory and Magnezone can also come out on STAB Bullet Punch and Bug Bite and effectively set up on Scizor as well.
Excadrill: Excadrill can be one of the best assets to your team and also the most threatening thing to be matched up against. With it's Sand Rush ability, it's able to reach a maximum speed of 604 enabling it to outspeed even Choice Scarf Base 130s. With access to moves such as Earthquake, Swords Dance, X-Scissor, Rock Slide, and Brick Break, it is able to come in and sweep entire teams that are not prepared for it's destructive force. Gliscor is a solid counter being able to switch in to any of it's moves and hitting back hard with Earthquake. 252/184 Defensive Gliscor is not OHKO'd by +6 Rock Slide from Life Orb Excadrill. Fighting Pokemon such as Conkeldurr and Infernape can threaten Excadrill with Mach Punch, while Skarmory can effectively take many of Excadrill's attacks and easily phaze him out with whirlwind.
Dragonite: Dragonite has become one of the top dragon this Generation, outclassing it's younger brother Salamence. This is due to it's new ability, Multiscale which reduces damage afflicted to it by 50% when it has full HP. Multiscale paired with Roost makes one hard dragon to take down. Dragonite comes in various forms, but the three main variations consist of Specially Offensive, Dragon Dance, and Bulky Phazer. Specially Offensive Dragonites are more often seen on Rain teams as Dragonite can take advantage of 100% Hurricanes and 100% Thunders. Dragon Dance variations focus on taking advantage of Multiscale to get a free Dragon Dance and proceed to sweeping with moves such as Extremespeed, Outrage, Fire Punch, and Earthquake. On the defensive spectrum, Bulky Phazer versions of Dragonite take full advantage of Multiscale by coupling it with Roost. Other moves often seen on this set are Substitute and Thunder Wave to allow Dragonite to have advantage over other pokemon and to finish off this set, Dragonite comes along with Dragon Tail to allow it to phaze pokemon away and inflict paralysis on other members of the team. Stealth Rocks helps nullify the effects of Multiscale allowing you to OHKO Dragonite with moves such as Ice Beam and Stone Edge. For Specially Offensive Dragonite, special walls such as Chansey and Blissey can come in and afflict status effects on it without taking much damage. Dragon Dance versions can be a lot harder to handle but pokemon such as Gliscor and Ferrothorn can come in and scare it away with moves such as Ice Fang and Gyro Ball. Bulky Phazer versions with Dragon Tail and Thunder Wave can be a nuisance but the only way it can rack up damage is with entry hazards set up, so spinners like Starmie can spin away hazards and attack with Ice Beam while also absorbing Thunder Wave as well.
Lati@s: The dynamic duo are probably two of the strongest Specially Based Dragons in the metagame. Latios can hit hard with Choice Specs and Trick it onto incoming tanks while Latias, being more defensively based is one of the best Calm Mind Boosters in the game. Unfortunately, these Dragons fall short to the most common Pokemon on Sand teams, Tyranitar. Tyranitar can switch into either Dragon and trap it with Pursuit. Blissey can tank Draco Meteors from Specs Latios and heal up, while Scizor and Ferrothorn can come in on Calm Mind Latias and threaten it with U-turn and Gyro Ball.
Haxorus: Haxorus is one of the lesser used Dragons this Generation, but don't be fooled, this dragon can be your worst enemy if you are not prepared. With 147 Base Attack coupled with Rivalry, Haxorus can destroy some of the sturdiest physical walls in the OU metagame. Choice Banded Outrage with Rivalry boost is a clean 2HKO on Pokemon such as Ferrothorn and Skarmory. Haxorus also has access to Dragon Dance to fix it's 97 Base Speed and Swords Dance to boost it's attack to astronomical levels. Seeing as how there is no virtually Pokemon no Pokemon to tank Haxorus after it has it's Choice Band or Dragon Dance set up, the key to stopping Haxorus is by sending in a faster Dragon to catch it while it's stuck in Outrage or by wearing it down with priority moves.
Hydreigon: Hydreigon is one of the new Specially Based Dragons this generation. With a wide range of moves ranging from Dark Pulse to Flamethrower, it can be pretty hard on sand teams if you're not carrying the appropriate checks and counters. One of it's flaws is it's lack of speed. With only 98 Base Speed, it falls 2 points short of joining the Base 100 club. Hydreigon tend to carry Choice Scarf or Specs, allowing it to deal heavy damage and then switch out, but on occasion, it does run Life Orb or Expert Belt for better coverage. Special walls such as Chansey and Blissey can easily switch into whatever Hydreigon has to dish and tank the attack. Hydreigon is also part Dark-type which renders it weak to Fighting Pokemon such as Mach Punch Conkeldurr.
Building a sandstorm team is pretty easy. You basically want either Tyranitar or Hippowdon as your permanent sandstorm supporter to start off with. Tyranitar has great defenses, but its Special Defense stands out more than its Defense due to Sandstorm raising its Special Defense by 50%. Whereas, Hippowdon's strong point is its Defense stat, an awesome 118 base Defense with a 108 base HP. It basically depends on your team if your team would appreciate the Special Defense over Defense. Tyranitar also has other capabilities that put it above Hippowdon though, such as being able to Pursuit Latios or Latias. A great check for Reuniclus, being able to OHKO with Choice Band Crunch. On the other hand, Hippowdon gets Ice Fang, so it's able to stop threats like Dragon Dance Dragonite and Salamence. Hippowdon can also phaze physical sweepers with Roar. Both Tyranitar and Hippowdon are able to set up Stealth Rock.
There are essentially three Pokemon that benefit from the Sandstorm as listed in the offensive threats. They are Excadrill, Landorus, and Terrakion. A good sandstorm team would have one or two of these offensive Pokemon, as having too many would just weaken your team even more against Water-types and rain teams. Excadrill is typically used to take advantage of Sand Rush, which doubles its Speed in the sandstorm. This makes Excadrill an excellent sweeper with Swords Dance and STAB Earthquake, along with resistances against Electric- and Poison-type moves. Excadrill can also use Rapid Spin to support your team if your team is weak against entry hazards. Excadrill is basically an excellent sweeper, spinner, and revenge killer for a sandstorm team. Landorus hits like a truck without any boost required, thanks to Sand Force raising its Ground- and Rock-type moves by 30% in the sandstorm. Unlike Excadrill, this guy gets access to a much stronger Rock-type move (Stone Edge) and is not walled by Gliscor, thanks to Hidden Power Ice. Though Landorus lacks Speed, which it could make up for with Rock Polish. Terrakion is another great sweeper in the sandstorm, with great defenses along with a 50% increase of Special Defense thanks to sandstorm. Unlike Landorus, Terrakion takes advantage of its Fighting-type and Rock-type. Which allows it to get STAB on two powerful moves, Close Combat and Stone Edge. And even though it lacks Speed, it can make up for it with Rock Polish, making it a great sweeper. All three of these offensive threats get access to Swords Dance, making them even more dangerous.
With Tyranitar or Hippowdon and Excadrill, Terrakion, and Landorus being the chosen cores of a sandstorm team, you will need to build good synergy between them. To start off building a Sandstorm team, you would want to pick your Sandstorm supporter, either Tyranitar or Hippowdon. Then choose one or two of the offensive threats, as you don't want to choose too many or you're weakening yourself of Water-type attacks. As you can see all the offensive and supporting Pokemon of sandstorm are weak to Water-types. This means we would have to support the team from Water-types like Rotom-W and Starmie. Choosing Pokemon like Celebi or Gastrodon are great choices to stop Water-types. Celebi has Natural Cure, allowing it to hurl off a burn and defeat Rotom-W or Jellicent. Gastrodon gets the ability Storm Drain, which allows it to take any Water-type attacks and raise its Special Attack. While also resisting Electric-type attacks, so it's able to beat threats such as Starmie and Thundurus.
Having more than one way of stopping Water-type threats is great for the team. You can support your team with Stealth Rock by giving your sandstorm supporter Stealth Rock (Tyranitar or Hippowdon). While if you wish to have a Spikes supporter, you can use either Skarmory, Ferrothorn, Forretress or Deoxys-D. They're all great options. Since you would be weak to Dragon-type moves, having a Steel-type Pokemon would really benefit your sandstorm team. Jirachi is another Steel-type that can be used to support your team with Wish support and counter Gengar, which would either give a problem to a common sandstorm team with its Shadow Ball and Focus Blast combo. Blissey is another great Wish supporter, which is able to support your team with about a 350 HP recovery from a Wish (which is practically recovering one of your Pokemon to full health). Blissey and specially defensive Jirachi are both able to take on special attacking Water-types as well, making them excellent supporting Pokemon on a sandstorm team.
Skarmory (M) @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 240 Def / 16 Spd
Impish Nature (+Def, -SAtk)
- Brave Bird
Skarmory sets up the Spikes that make Latias that much more threatening. I'm able to bring Skarmory in a wide range of physical attackers while forcing them out giving me a free turn to Spike. The best thing about Skarmory, however, is having a hard stop to the most threatening Sand sweepers in the metagame: Excadrill, Garchomp, and Landorus. Thanks to a huge investment in defense with an impish nature none of these threats are able to do more than 50% even at +2! There's always a tough choice in deciding between Brave Bird and Taunt, but I really hate facing a last mon Excadrill, since Heatran won't always have his Air Balloon intact. 16 Speed EVs have actually helped a lot when facing Pokemon that aim to reach the 177 spe mark. Pokemon such as bulky Breloom, Jellicent, and CB Tyranitar. I've thought about Shed Shell multiple times but I'm usually able to play around Magnezone teams anyway as they're so intent upon trapping Skarmory that Terrakion can often come in and spam Close Combat/Stone Edge.
Latias (F) @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SDef / 252 Spd
Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk)
- Calm Mind
- Dragon Pulse
This set is amazing. Latias usually cleans up late in the battle as constant Roaring keeps Jirachi and Tyranitar wary of switching in and they are generally weakened at this point anyway. I generally bring Latias in on a slower special attacker such as Celebi, Rotom-W, or Jellicent and proceed to Calm Mind. From there the opponent is froced to decide whether to switch and take Spikes + Stealth Rock damage or stay in and risk letting me set up even more. Latias is one of very few good Reuniclus checks. Though it does have trouble with OTR variants, it can at least Roar them out. With max HP Latias even has some nice physical bulk. The standard Stealth Rock Tyranitar can't OHKO with Crunch, which means even if I guess wrong and they Pursuit, Latias can come back in later. Gyarados also can't KO with Bounce giving me a check outside of Skarmory which is always nice due to Taunt/Dragon Tail on Gyarados.
Terrakion @ Choice Band
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Jolly Nature (+Spd, -SAtk)
- Close Combat
- Stone Edge
- Quick Attack
I wanted a Rock resist pretty badly since even Skarm has trouble with CB Tyranitar's Stone Edges if they run the right amount of speed. I tried Sub/SD Chomp in this slot originally but it was actually kind of redundant along side Latias. I eventually got to this set which has just been amazing. even though Latias is what I built the team around, Terrakion is often my MVP. Stone Edge does upwards of 40% to Gliscor while Close Combat does around 50% to most Skarmory. Once those two are out of the way, I can usually just click Close Combat or Stone Edge until I win. ScarfTar works excellently alongside this set being able to trap the psychics that can take a Close Combat, while also baiting Thundurus and Tornadus who can take one hit while forcing me out. Quick Attack is weak as hell but it has saved me a number of times. I've probably used X-Scissor all of 2 times but it is nice for hitting Reuniclus without relying on Stone Miss.
Tyranitar (M) @ Choice Scarf
Trait: Sand Stream
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spd
Jolly Nature (+Spd, -SAtk)
- Stone Edge
ScarfTar is really underrated in this metagame. It's able to check some of the top special attackers such as Lati@s, Starmie, and the genies, all common on Drizzle teams. ScarfTar also gives me an early advantage against DS Shell Smash teams as they'll usually lead with Espeon in the hopes of getting screens up only to be outsped and OHKOd. Sun basically has no chance unless they run the rare Sub Chandelure to lure me in. Superpower is chosen over Ice Beam or something in order to hit Ferrothorn as well as Terrakion and other Tyranitar.
Heatran (M) @ Air Balloon
Trait: Flash Fire
EVs: 4 Def / 252 SAtk / 252 Spd
Timid Nature (+Spd, -Atk)
- Fire Blast
- Earth Power
- Hidden Power [Ice]
- Stealth Rock
There are only so many viable Stealth Rock users in BW, and since I was running Tyranitar with a Choice Scarf set the other one's such as Bronzong, and Ferrothorn were horribly redundant with Skarmory. I also wanted some offensive presence and a way to make Forretress think twice about switching in and spinning my hazards away.Air Balloon is nice as it gives me another check to the sand sweepers in case they run Magnezone or something. Hidden Power Ice is so great for catching Garchomp on the switch or checking Gliscor if it managed to grab a SD. Also a great switchin to Taunt + WoW Mew which is sooooo annoying.
Celebi @ Leftovers
Trait: Natural Cure
EVs: 220 HP / 252 SAtk / 36 Spd
Modest Nature (+SAtk, -Atk)
- Nasty Plot
- Giga Drain
- Hidden Power [Fire]
omg bulky water switch-in that doesn't mind a scald burn?? Yeah that was basically why Celebi was put on the team at first. It does work well with the rest of my team though with Tyranitar taking care of the Latis which prevent a sweep, and forming the infamous Celetran combo that was popular during 4th gen. Anyway this is a set that's been gaining in popularity recently and with good reason; It comes in on a bulky water, grabs a NP and can severely damage a team from there. I know some people prefer to run max speed but I've always preferred the bulk since it makes Celebi much more of a threat once it gets a NP boost. This set is walled by Haxorus and Hydreigon anyway so the Speed wouldn't help there and very few base 100s max spe anyway so I just threw enough speed in there to beat Jolly Tyranitar however rare they may be. Celebi helps Latias to an extent to since it lures and weakens/KOs Ferrothorn, Jirachi, Scizor, Tyranitar, etc.
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