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 Hurricane’s accuracies to 100%, which certainly helps as they are both 120 Base Power attacks. It also gives Pokémon with Dry Skin and Rain Dish abilities an extra form of recovery, as well as offering Steel-, Bug-, Ice- and Grass-types support due to a 50% damage reduction from Fire-type attacks. The rain also doubles the Speed of Pokémon with the Swift Swim ability. Due to the large threat Drizzle teams were in the metagame, a ban on having Pokémon with both the Drizzle and Swift Swim abilities on the same team was put in place. Nevertheless, Drizzle teams still have a large number of hard hitting abusers and should never to be taken lightly. It is always a must to have at least one or two Pokémon in your sandstorm team to keep Pokémon that are commonly used on a rain team in check. Most rain teams consist of special attackers with Water- and Electric-types as their main STAB and hence all have similar checks: Pokémon with a good Special Defense and Pokémon with a resistance or immunity to Water-type moves. Such supporters include: Ferrothorn, Gastrodon, Chansey, Blissey, Tentacruel, Jellicent, Celebi, Latias, Latios, and Rotom-W.
Politoed has made a great impact on today’s metagame with its newly bestowed Dream World ability, Drizzle. Whilst the impact it has on the metagame is largely due to the vast number and sheer power of the rain abusers, Politoed is definitely no slacker itself. Its decent bulk and its base 90 Special Attack allows it to run a variety of sets, from a defensive set to a hard hitting Choice Specs set, thanks to the 50% power boost to Water-type moves provided by the rain, or even a revenge killer with Choice Scarf. All in all, Politoed is a major threat to sandstorm teams with both Tyranitar and Hippowdon being weak to Water-type moves. Special walls such as Jellicent, Chansey, Ferrothorn, Tentacruel and Gastrodon are always good to have on your sandstorm team to keep Politoed in check. Defensive Politoed sets hate being hit with status, especially poison or burn, as they wear it down faster. Choice sets require good prediction, but getting in on the right move can force Politoed out. Entry hazard support is welcome, limiting the number of times Politoed can switch in to your Tyranitar or Hippowdon. It is also worth noting that Pursuit Tyranitar can also deal with weakened Politoed 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 Generation to date, and for a good reason too. Despite not receiving any significant improvements this Generation, Starmie still boasts its blistering 115 Base Speed, which allows Starmie to outspeed every unboosted Pokémon in the OU tier except Deoxys-S, as well as having a decent 100 Base 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 rain boosted Hydro Pump, a 100% accurate Thunder nor a powerful Ice Beam, so it is essential to have a Starmie check somewhere on your team. Chansey and Blissey have always been its top counters since they were introduced and they still do a great job against it in this Generation. However, the 5th Generation has given us a Water-type sweeper’s worst enemies: Ferrothorn and Storm Drain Gastrodon, the former being able to tank any hits and OHKO Starmie with Power Whip and the latter being immune to both Water- and Electric-type attacks. Both of these work well on any sandstorm team. If you lack at one of these four Pokémon, it is of high importance that you keep sandstorm up to maintain Excadrill’s Sand Rush, or have a reliable Choice Scarf revenge killer that can reliably take care of the starfish. Starmie’s downfall has always been its common weaknesses and rather average bulk, meaning that it will not last too long on the field if you play intelligently.
Even with its high attacking prowess, it is also worth noting that Starmie can also serve as a great support Pokémon to a Rain team, with access to Rapid Spin, its ability to beat the most common spinblockers in the metagame, the move Recover and its ability Natural Cure. If you see a Starmie on the opposing team, you may wish to be a bit conservative with setting up entry hazards until the Starmie is significantly weakened. Due to Starmie’s Psychic weakness, Tyranitar is one of the best checks to Starmie, as it can OHKO with Crunch, or Pursuit if it switches out, but should be used as last resort due to how important Tyranitar is to a sandstorm team.
With a great Electric / Flying typing that provides resistances to a number of common types and an awesome movepool, combined with a fantastic 125 Base Special Attack, a good 115 Base Attack and a very good base 111 speed that allows it to outspeed significant Pokémon such as Gengar, Latias, Latios and Terrakion, Thundurus is definitely a major threat to any kind of team – this includes sandstorm teams. It has 2 main sets: a supportive set and a Nasty Plot sweeper. The former set aids a team immensely with priority Thunder Wave crippling opposing sweepers and Taunt aiding in breaking stall, and the latter set is one of most dangerous sweepers in the metagame. It doesn't gain too much from rain, but it goes get the ability to use a 100% accurate Thunder, and it doesn’t have to worry too much about being outpaced by Excadrill and Chlorophyll Pokémon. Between Thunderbolt, Hidden Power Ice, Focus Blast, Hammer Arm and Grass Knot, almost nothing can safely switch into Thundurus without taking severe damage. It can setup on a lot of commonly used defensive Pokémon such as Chansey and Ferrothorn. Its one true counter is Unaware Quagsire. Gastrodon also does a good job of checking Thundurus, but both of them fall to a Grass Knot. 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 Choice Scarf Pokémon that can KO it. Bringing in your Tyranitar or Hippowdon against it is NOT advisable as Focus Blast and Hammer Arm can OHKO Tyranitar, and HP Ice or Grass Knot can severely threaten Hippowdon, allowing your opponent to gain the upper hand in terms of weather.
Despite having the exact same stats as Thundurus, this Pokémon is largely considered as inferior to Thundurus. However, there is one thing that Tornadus has that Thundurus would kill for: access to Hurricane, a 120 Base Power Flying-type move. Its shaky accuracy is not an issue, as it is boosted to 100% accuracy with rain up, meaning that it is a lot easier to use. Tornadus are usually seen with the Choice Specs set (Hurricane, Focus Blast, Hidden Power [Ice] or Grass Knot, U Turn) or mixed, since it has quite a nice set of physical attacks to use with its 115 Base Attack. Although it is not as threatening to Sand teams as Thundurus and Starmie are, Tornadus do always pack Focus Blast, Hammer Arm or Grass Knot much like Thundurus does, making you think twice about sending in your Tyranitar or Hippowdon against it. The best Pokémon to use against it are Pokémon with a good Special Defense Jirachi and Chansey or Blissey at full health. Common Electric-type Pokémon like Rotom-W and Thundurus can also check Tornadus fairly well. Bulky Water-types such as Tentacruel and Jellicent do fairly well against it, as it doesn't have the powerful STAB Thunderbolt or Thunder that makes Thundurus much more threatening. If you can keep sandstorm on the field, Hurricane’s accuracy drops to 70%, and if you can keep Stealth Rock up, Tornadus loses 25% of its health every time it switches in, which will make Tornadus a lot less threatening.
Despite all the other Rotom forms falling out of OU after losing their Ghost typing in this Generation, Rotom’s Wash form remains a top tier Pokémon. With its Water/Electric typing, combined with its ability Levitate which gives it an immunity to Ground-type moves, giving it only one weakness: Grass-type moves. Rotom-W is an example of a Pokémon that can fully abuse rain, as both of its STAB attacks are boosted by the rain – Hydro Pump gets 50% more power, and Thunder because 100% accurate. It is a top threat to sandstorm teams as its STABs and very good allows it to take a few hits and threaten common sandstorm team members like Landorus, Excadrill, Hippowdon and Tyranitar. It can also run Choice sets with Trick, allowing it to not only get some surprise KOs but to also cripple defensive Pokémon. Defensive sets are even harder to take down, as it can use Will-o-Wisp to cripple your physical sweepers and use Pain Split to gain health when needed. Your best bets at stopping Rotom-W are your generic special walls: Ferrothorn, Chansey, Blissey and Gastrodon, as well as Celebi, Latias, Latios and Virizion. They all wouldn't appreciate getting hit with Will-o-Wisp or Tricked a Choice item though. Another way to wear it down is by way of status (Toxic or burn) as Rotom-W’s only reliable way of recovery is Pain Split.
Despite having poor defences and an average Attack stat, Toxicroak fits perfectly on any rain team, offering resistances to common attacking types such as Fighting, Bug, Grass and Rock, as well as being able to absorb the Toxic Spikes that would otherwise plague rain teams. Its main selling point is its ability, Dry Skin, which restores Toxicroak’s HP when it is hit with Water-type attacks, and grants an extra 6.25% HP recovery every turn in rain, allowing it to setup on Pokémon that would normally trouble Rain teams such as Ferrothorn, Chansey, Blissey, Tentacruel and Virizion. Toxicroak is usually seen with a Swords Dance set or Bulk Up set, which utilises Substitute to block status such as paralysis and burn and uses Drain Punch and Sucker Punch for decent coverage, recovery and priority. It is typically beaten by generic physical walls such as Gliscor, Slowbro and Hippowdon, as they can all take a hit or two and threaten to KO it with Earthquake or Psychic, or Roar it out. Other commonly used Pokémon that can beat Toxicroak are Jellicent, Bold Reuniclus and Roar Latias. Some Toxicroak run Ice Punch to surprise incoming Gliscor and Dragon-types, but since it is incompatible with Drain Punch, you can presume it has 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 over the new Pokémon from Black and White, Calm Mind Jirachi makes its way back into competitive play with permanent rain reducing damage from Fire attacks as well as being able to fire off a 100% accurate Thunder, with Serene Grace giving making Thunder have a 60% chance to paralyze, and a rain-boosted Water Pulse, with Serene Grace giving it a 40% chance to confuse. The set aims to use Serene Grace to its fullest with the infamous “parafusion” combination as well as, like Toxicroak, allowing it to setup with ease on Pokémon that normally trouble rain teams, such as Ferrothorn, who struggles to break Jirachi’s Substitute and Chansey and Blissey, due to its 101 HP Substitutes; and lastly, lure out counters to its normal Physical, such as Gliscor, Jellicent and Skarmory, only to hit them with a boosted Water Pulse or Thunder. Though becoming common now, Calm Mind Jirachi is definitely a threat to unprepared sandstorm teams and it must never be given the opportunity to setup. The three best Pokémon to use against Calm Mind Jirachi are Storm Drain Gastrodon, Nasty Plot or Perish Song Celebi and Unaware Quagsire. Specially Defensive Tyranitar can brush off its attacks with ease but it cannot do much back without Earthquake, which is rare on Specially Defensive variants, and Hippowdon with all its bulk can take a +1 or +2 Water Pulse if at good health and Roar it away or Earthquake for the 2HKO.
The cornerstone of any sun team, Ninetales looks extremely outclassed when compared to other weather inducers. As all the other weather inducers, bar Abomasnow, have a severe type advantage over it, the questions arises as to whether it can really have an impact on the weather war or not. The answer is yes. In the hands of a good player, a sun team is a devastating force to be reckoned with. Stealth Rock is essential when playing against sun teams, because Ninetales will take 25% damage on every switch-in, aiding you greatly in the weather war. Ninetales has a few notable sets, namely the Calm Mind set, the Specially Defensive set and the Nasty Plot set. While they can't really do too much damage off of that 83 Base Special Attack stat, Will-O-Wisp can burn Tyranitar and Hippowdon, cutting their attack and crippling them badly. Even with access to Energy Ball, Tyranitar with the Special Defense boost from the sand can wall it and threaten to OHKO with Stone Edge. Hypnosis can be an annoyance if it hits, putting one of your Pokémon to sleep. Faster versions of Ninetales can outspeed Excadrill and OHKO with a sun-boosted Flamethrower, so it’s not a good idea to keep Excadrill in against Ninetales.
Heatran is typically used as a Stealth Rock supporter. However, it also has great offensive capabilities, especially in a sun team, where sun raises the power of its Fire-type attacks by 50% and weakens Water-type attacks by 50%. The main aim of a sun team with Heatran is to lure a Fire-type attack aimed at a Pokémon such as Venusaur (or a similar Chlorophyll Grass type user) and get the Flash Fire boost for Heatran. You're really not going to enjoy a sun-boosted, STAB, Flash Fire boosted Fire type move from a massive Base 130 Special Attack. Heatran isn't too hard for a Sand team to handle as long as Sandstorm is up. It can cause a problem for Tyranitar if Tyranitar switches into Earth Power but it doesn’t really have any way of boosting its Special Attack to create havoc. Tyranitar can normally handle any variation of Heatran as long as it doesn't take repeated hits from Earth Power. Specially Defensive Hippowdon can threaten to OHKO it with Earthquake and can use Slack Off to heal any damage taken. Sandstorm teams can utilise their own Heatran to take a Choice- locked Fire attack and threaten the opposing Heatran with Earth Power. Gastrodon can also walk all over any Heatran without Hidden Power Grass.
Volcarona is one of the deadliest sun sweepers you can find. Almost all sun teams run a Pokémon with Rapid Spin to prevent Stealth Rock from ruining their common sweepers. Volcarona is one of the few Fire-type Pokémon that is actually dangerous to a sandstorm team. After a Quiver Dance, Volcarona hit Tyranitar with STAB Bug Buzz and severely dent it. Specially Defensive Hippowdon can't really do much to it, as Volcarona’s unique typing makes it neutral to Earthquake. After 2 Quiver Dances, it outspeeds Jolly Excadrill in the sand and will most probably sweep your entire team. The standard Volcarona used in sun teams is one that utilises the ChestoRest strategy, healing Volcarona of any prior damage and giving it a second chance to sweep. To deal with Volcarona, it is highly recommended that you try to keep Stealth Rock in play at all times, as Stealth Rock will remove 50% of Volcarona’s HP every time it switches in. Heatran can wall it long if it doesn't have Hidden Power Ground. If it does, Volcarona is sacrificing recovery through Rest, meaning that it will not stay alive for as long as it wishes to. Heatran can also Roar it away, forcing it to take more Stealth Rock damage upon switching in again. Excadrill in the sand can outspeed +1 Speed Volcarona and OHKO with Rock Slide. 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 the sun, allows it to become a powerful mixed attacker, and Chlorophyll doubles Venusaur’s Speed, allowing it to outspeed a very large portion of the metagame. A lot of people are fans of the Special sweeper Venusaur, which uses Giga Drain, Hidden Power Fire or Ice and Sludge Bomb alongside Growth. Whilst that can tear holes in many teams and has the capability to hit Tyranitar and Hippowdon hard, it is entirely walled by Heatran. The mixed set is more dangerous, as Venusaur can use Earthquake to deal massive damage to the likes of Tyranitar and Heatran. Power Whip can also be used in place of Giga Drain for the extra power but the loss of recovery will decrease Venusaur’s longevity. The mixed variant is difficult to check because it can use many different attacks. The best thing to do is to remove the sunny weather before it sets up. Choice Scarf Tyranitar can do this and outspeed and threaten it severely. Without sun, it is a much lesser threat, but with sun up the mixed variant is very difficult to deal with until you know what attacks it is running.
Sawsbuck is a physical sweeper, and with access to Chlorophyll and a Base 100 Attack stat, it can pose a lot of problems when used in a sun team. It is almost exclusively seen using a Swords Dance set, using three of Horn Leech, Jump Kick, Nature Power (which turns into Earthquake in link battles), Return, Frustration and Wild Charge. Outside of those moves, there isn’t much else Sawsbuck can do. It struggles to get past the standard Physical walls such as Gliscor and Skarmory, but it seriously threatens both Tyranitar and Hippowdon, as well as many common sandstorm abusers. If you’ve got a solid Physical wall, then you shouldn’t have a huge problem with Sawsbuck.
Darmanitan has everything it needs to be a threat on a sun team. A Sheer Force boosted STAB Flare Blitz coming off of a Base 140 Attack will demolish nearly anything that doesn't resist it. Fortunately, this offensive beast has very weak defenses. It does have a fairly nice 95 Base Speed, with which it can take advantage of a Choice Band or Choice Scarf – in fact almost every Darmanitan you’ll see will probably have a Choice item. It’s really had to switch into Darmanitan’s Flare Blitz, even if you resist it. Heatran is immune to Flare Blitz and gets boosted by Flash Fire, but it will fall to Superpower. Slowbro does a fairly nice job, but U-Turn hurts it. Excadrill can outspeed it and KO if sandstorm is active. Most of the time, Darmanitan will kill itself through Flare Blitz recoil and Stealth Rock damage. Just try and force it to switch, and you should be alright.
Victini is fairly similar to Darmanitan. Instead of Flare Blitz, you have to take V-Create, a Base 180 power move – and in the sun, it does even more damage. Typically, Choice Band or Choice Scarf Victini are the most commonly used variants in Sun teams. Slowbro can take Flare Blitz, but a Fusion Bolt will hurt a lot. Heatran is a decent check to most Victini, as they usually lack Focus Blast. A rare Special variant can be handled by Tyranitar, so long as it avoids Focus Blast.
Conkeldurr is one of the top threats to a Sandstorm team. Its bulk, power and typing immediately spells disaster for a Sandstorm team if it’s lacking some appropriate checks, especially as it can recover its health when it attacks. 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 most prominent sweeper in sandstorm teams, are both massively weak to Fighting-type moves. It can easily come in on Tyranitar and threaten to OHKO it or grab a Bulk Up boost and proceed to cause major issues. Typically, the most common ways of dealing with Physical threats is to burn them and lower their Attack to manageable levels. However, Conkeldurr’s ability is Guts, which actually boosts Conkeldurr’s Attack stat if it is hit with a major status condition, such as burn. However, Conkeldurr is not without his checks. Choice Specs Latios can OHKO with Draco Meteor, and both Latias and Latios can set up Calm Mind boosts if Conkeldurr lacks Payback. Reuniclus is a good check for Conkeldurr. It has impressive bulk, and it is slower than Conkeldurr, meaning that Payback will not do as much damage, and can respond with a powerful STAB Psychic. Gliscor can also a solid check. It resists Conkeldurr’s STAB attacks and can take most of what Conkeldurr can throw at it, whilst breaking through Conkeldurr’s defenses thanks to Taunt and Swords Dance. Skarmory can also check it efficiently using Brave Bird and Whirlwind to prevent it from setting up, but it can struggle as it does not resist Drain Punch. One of the most solid checks for Conkeldurr is Slowbro, as it is slower than Conkeldurr, like Reuniclus is, gets instant recovery, has an STAB Psychic to beat Conkeldurr with, and can switch out and recover any health it did lose thanks to Regeneration. All of the above Pokémon can work fairly well in a sandstorm team.
Terrakion is a fairly big threat to sandstorm teams. It outspeeds almost every single sandstorm abuser when unboosted, and if it uses Rock Polish, it can even outspeed Excadrill in the sand. Furthermore, it can boost its Attack to high levels with Swords Dance, allowing it to power through most of the Pokémon that are used on a sandstorm team with just its powerful STAB moves. It even gets a Special Defense boost from the sandstorm, and can even utilise a Choice Band or Choice Scarf set. It still struggles to get past Gliscor, no matter what set it is running, thanks to Gliscor’s high Defense and decent typing. Reuniclus and Slowbro can both take a hit from Terrakion and respond with a powerful STAB Psychic, or a Scald in Slowbro’s case. Terrakion is also weak to a lot of priority attacks; Conkeldurr can check it with Mach Punch, Scizor can check it with Bullet Punch or Azumarill could check it with Aqua Jet. Hippowdon can take a Close Combat and Earthquake for the KO, and Excadrill can outspeed and KO with Earthquake if Terrakion has not used Rock Polish, but be careful about Air Balloon.
Infernape 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 Base 104 Attack and Special Attack, it can hard to determine whether Infernape is running a Physical, Special or mixed set. It’s hard to find a counter or check for the mixed version. The physical version can be taken cared of easily by Slowbro and Gliscor and the special version can be handled by Latias or a similar Pokémon that resists its STAB Fighting and Fire. Slowbro and Gastrodon work really well if it lacks Grass Knot. The mixed version can usually be handled by Slowbro, as 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 Infernape lacks Grass Knot, and almost all bulky waters such as Suicune, Jellicent, and Vaporeon can wall it, and proceed to KO it with STAB Water-type moves.
Scrafty is not that powerful, yet it has just enough power to KO what it needs to. Its ability, Shed Skin, makes hitting it with status inflictions near useless. Its offenses are practically nothing when other commonly used Fighting-type Pokémon, but it has brilliant bulk and access to excellent set-up moves such as Dragon Dance and Bulk Up. Scrafty’s movepool really limits what can check it. It cannot really be walled by Gliscor or Slowbro like other Fighting-type Pokémon can, due to it usually carrying Ice Punch and STAB Crunch. The problem that Scrafty has is that almost any Fighting-type Pokémon can come in and scare it away or just smash it with their own an STAB Fighting-type move. Without Dragon Dance, Scrafty is easily outsped due to its mediocre Base 58 Speed. Conkeldurr can easily come in at any move before it sets up too much and can set up Bulk Ups or just Drain Punch Scrafty to death. Skarmory is a good defensive check, as a +1 Drain Punch or Hi Jump Kick won’t hurt it nearly as much as similar attacks from other Fighting-type Pokémon. Hippowdon can Roar Scrafty away, but it cannot really do too much damage itself.
Boasting a Base 110 Attack and a Base 115 Special Attack, and having access to boosting moves such as Nasty Plot, Sword Dance and Agility makes Lucario one of the best sweepers in the game from either side of the spectrum. Whilst its Speed is a fairly average Base 90, it has access to various priority moves, such as 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 moves the opponent is using. Nothing much can hold up well against a Swords Dance Lucario, as even Skarmory takes a hefty chunk of damage from Close Combat. The Physical version can be walled by either Gliscor or Slowbro and Reuniclus, depending on what filler move Lucario is running alongside Extremespeed, Close Combat and Swords Dance. Ice Punch will make Slowbro's life easy while Crunch will make Gliscor's life easy. Excadrill can beat an ordinary Physical version without Air Balloon since it resists Extremespeed. Gliscor can do fairly well against Nasty Plot Lucario if it lacks Hidden Power Ice, but it will take a large chunk of damage. Tentacruel and Gastrodon can do fairly well against Nasty Plot Lucario, being able to take a hit or two and try and burn it with Scald, or KO with Earth Power in Gastrodon’s case. Whilst Blissey and Chansey can paralyse Lucario, making him easier to manage, it will not want to take a +2 Aura Sphere at all. Tyranitar cannot stand up to Lucario at all, and Hippowdon struggles to take a +2 Close Combat, and it seriously struggles against Nasty Plot Lucario.
Virizion is an underrated sweeper which can tear huge holes into a sandstorm team. At first it may seem like a less powerful Breloom, but with more Speed and bulk. However, Virizion can run a physical, special or mixed set, which makes it unpredictably dangerous. Calm Mind Virizion is extremely dangerous for a sandstorm team, since it can kill a lot of things that would usually feature on sandstorm teams, as well as beat common checks to Fighting types. Giga Drain beats Jellicent, Gastrodon and other bulky waters, and it also maims Hippowdon. Hidden Power Ice would lay waste to Gliscor and Landorus. Focus Blast is the powerful Fighting STAB attack that easily beats Tyranitar. What makes things worse is that Excadrill cannot OHKO without a Swords Dance boost, unless it runs Aerial Ace, which is a seriously inferior option to the other moves it gets. Physical Virizion is easily walled by Skarmory, since it lacks the raw Physical power other Fighting types do. Gliscor can also beat Physical Virizion, but mixed Virizion runs Hidden Power Ice, which ruins Gliscor. Calm Mind Virizion can struggle to get the best of Latios and Latias, but without a Psychic-type attack, they won’t do too much damage back. Liquid Ooze Tentacruel is one of the best checks, as it damages Virizion when it uses Giga Drain. In return, it can burn it with Scald and slowly drain its health.
Breloom can not only threaten a sandstorm team with its powerful attacks, but it can also shut down a Pokémon with ease thanks to Spore. It gets the Poison Heal ability, and most players run Toxic Orb on it to prevent status and regain HP at the same time, which can cause a problem if you’re trying to inflict a status on Breloom. Most sandstorm teams use Toxic Orb Gliscor with its Poison Heal as it cannot be put to sleep if it is poisoned, and it can otherwise put a full stop to Breloom. 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. However, all of that require an additional Pokémon to take Spore for them, except Xatu, which uses its Magic Bounce ability to bounce Breloom's Spore attack onto itself, which is a great way to stop Breloom if it lacks Toxic Orb or if Toxic Orb has not activated yet.
Mienshao is mostly used as a Fake Out lead. It’s frail, fast and powerful and has access to a great ability, Regeneration. Normally it is only seen using the same set, which uses Fake Out, Hi Jump Kick, U-turn and Hidden Power Ice with a Life Orb. It has the access to Sword Dance, although it is rarely seen. 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 Pokémon to check. Excadrill can come in on anything but Hi Jump Kick to OHKO it with a powerful STAB Earthquake. Gliscor can't handle the standard variant because of Hidden Power Ice, but without Hidden Power, Gliscor is a great check. Slowbro beats Mienshao easily, but U-turn will hurt a bit. Arguably the greatest counter to Mienshao would be Jellicent, as it is immune to Hi Jump Kick and Fake Out, resists both U-turn and Hidden Power Ice, and it can burn with Scald and Recover any damage. Hippowdon handles Mienshao well, as it struggles to do much damage to it, whereas Hippowdon can respond with Earthquake.
Machamp is a very annoying Pokémon to deal with. Thanks to No Guard, Dynamicpunch is always going to hit and cause confusion. Only Ghost types can avoid this, and they can check Machamp fairly well thanks to Payback not being entirely reliable. It has a variety of coverage moves including Ice Punch, Stone Edge, Bullet Punch, and the aforementioned Payback. Gliscor deals well with variants lacking Ice Punch. Reuniclus and Slowbro can shut Machamp down completely, with Reuniclus beating it with a powerful Psychic, and Slowbro either burning with Scald or hitting with Psychic.
Scizor: Scizor usually come in two variants, Swords Dance or Choice Band. Choice Band Scizor is deadly, as nothing is immune to U-turn, which can give Scizor the upper hand as it can switch straight out to a check. Swords Dance Scizor can easily sweep a sandstorm team without an appropriate check. Scizor has one major problem – a 4x weakness to Fire-type moves. Pokémon such as Heatran and Infernape can easily check Scizor and force him to switch, but they have to watch out for Superpower from Choice Band Scizor. 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. Skarmory can Whirlwind Scizor away while not taking too much damage, and Magnezone can trap Scizor and kill it with Hidden Power Fire. Gyarados resists pretty much anything Scizor does, and it can Roar or Dragon Tail it away, or just set-up a Dragon Dance. Hippowdon can Roar Scizor away if it tries to set up a Swords Dance.
Excadrill: Excadrill is one of the greatest assets to a sandstorm team, but it’s also the most threatening thing to be matched up against. With its Sand Rush ability, it can outspeed almost every Pokémon in the metagame, including most of a sandstorm team. 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 its destructive force. Gliscor is a solid counter, being able to switch in to any of its moves and hitting back hard with Earthquake. Fighting-type Pokémon such as Conkeldurr and Infernape can threaten Excadrill with Mach Punch, while Skarmory can effectively take many of Excadrill's attacks and easily Whirlwind him away.
Building a sandstorm team is pretty easy. You want to start with a Pokémon that has the Sand Stream ability; Tyranitar or Hippowdon are your only two choices. Tyranitar has great defenses, but its Special Defense stands out more than its Defense due to Sandstorm raising its Special Defense by 50. Hippowdon's strong point is its Physical bulk, which consists of an awesome 118 Base Defense and a very good 108 Base HP. It depends on what you need your support to do for your team: Tyranitar can check Latios, Latias and Reuniclus; Hippowdon can check Excadrill and other tough Physical sweepers. Both Tyranitar and Hippowdon are able to set up Stealth Rock. You could even run both Tyranitar and Hippowdon on your team if you wanted to.
There are essentially three offensive Pokémon that benefit from the sandstorm. They are Excadrill, Landorus, and Terrakion. A good sandstorm team would have one or two of these offensive Pokémon, 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. 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 the power of 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 is not as fast as Excadrill. It does have access to Rock Polish to make up for that though. 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, which have great neutral coverage between them. It is faster than Landorus but slower than Excadrill, but it can boost its Speed with Rock Polish, making it even faster than Excadrill. All three of these offensive threats get access to Swords Dance, making them even more dangerous.
With Tyranitar or Hippowdon and Excadrill, Terrakion or Landorus being the chosen cores of your sandstorm team, you will need to cover your team’s weaknesses, and make sure you can stop common threats and provide good offensive synergy as well. Many sandstorm abusers are weak to Water-type moves, and this means we have to choose some Pokémon that can take Water-type moves from the likes of Rotom-W and Starmie. Pokémon 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, and it also resists Grass- and Fighting-type moves, common weaknesses amongst sandstorm teams. Gastrodon gets the ability Storm Drain, which allows it to take any Water-type attacks and raise its Special Attack while also being immune to 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 letting your sandstorm supporter (Tyranitar or Hippowdon) set it up. If you wish to have a Spikes supporter, you can use Skarmory, Ferrothorn, Forretress or Deoxys-D. They're all great options. Dragon-type moves hurt almost every Pokémon that isn’t a Steel-type, so having a Steel-type Pokémon would really benefit your sandstorm team. Steel-types are immune to sandstorm damage as well. Jirachi is a Steel-type that can be used to support your team with Wish and to check Gengar, which could cause problems to a common sandstorm team with its Shadow Ball and Focus Blast combo. Blissey and Chansey are also great Wish supporters, and they can provide paralysis support as well as Heal Bell support. Blissey, Chansey and Specially Defensive Jirachi are both able to take on special attacking Water-types as well, making them excellent supporting Pokémon on a sandstorm team.