Hi there, Pokéjunglers! Mr. Bojingles here. It’s been a long time since I have updated with an article. School has been taking up most of my time out here in Korea. After 10 hours of teaching little kiddos English and then an online graduate program, I’m pretty exhausted when all is said and done. I’ve been on winter vacation, so I’ve had a bit more free time!
This next series of articles are going to focus on the competitive uses for weather affects in the newest generation of the Pokémon games. This particular article will go over the benefits and uses of Sandstorm, one of the first weather effects introduced in the series!
Now, when Sandstorm was introduced back in the days of Gold and Silver, there wasn’t much use of it outside of the 1/16 chip damage received by non rock, ground and steel types. Not only that, but it only lasted five turns. However, with the introduction of two users of the Sandstream ability (an auto ability that creates a Sandstorm for the entire match, given that opposing abilities don’t cancel it) and numerous added effects, Sandstorm has changed from a not-so-useful niche ability to a viable tactic in competitive play! The new effects of Sandstorm are as follows:
– 1/16 chip damage to all non rock, ground and steel types each turn (also to Pokémon who carry the ability Magic Guard, Air Lock, Sand Veil, Sand Force or Sand Rush).
– Rock type Pokémon gain a 50% special defense boost.
– Solar Beam’s power is halved.
– The recovery moves Moonlight and Synthesis only heal 25% HP as opposed to 50% HP
– The move Weather Ball has a base power of 100 and is rock type
The following new abilities also compliment Sandstorm weather:
– Sand Veil: Pokémon with this ability gain a 20% evasion boost.
– Sand Rush: Pokémon with this ability have their speed stat doubled.
– Sand Force: Pokémon with this ability have their rock, steel and ground type moves powered up by 30%.
The newer generations brought loads of new options for Sandstorm users, along with a plethora of new Pokémon to utilize them. Your first goal, however, is to set up your team for unstoppable destruction. Your two front line teammates should almost always be;
These two are the most obvious candidates for your first teammate. They both carry the ability Sandstream, which creates the unlimited Sandstorm effect. These two Pokémon are no slouches in the battle department, either. Tyranitar packs a mighty punch when taking the offensive. He comes with a fantastic 134 attack stat and excellent defenses (especially since he gets a 50% SpDef boost in the sand). Packing moves like Crunch, Superpower, Stone Edge and Fire Blast only assist in its destruction wrecking antics. Want a defensive Tyranitar instead? No problem. Stick some EV points in his defenses and HP while giving it moves like Stealth Rock and Pursuit to keep your foe constantly losing HP via hazards and surprise attacks. Many opponents fear Tyranitar, so scaring them into switching is quite common.
Hippowdon should be your choice if you prefer a more defensive front line fighter. It sports enormous HP and defense stats as well as solid attack power. It’s also able to use the fantastic recovery move Slack Off and the helpful hazard/phaze moves Stealth Rock and Roar to constantly damage your foe. Hippowdon packs a huge punch with Stone Edge and Earthquake, but it also comes with the surprising Ice Fang to give him extra type coverage.
Now, for your extra five slots, you have a bit more variety with your teammates. There are plenty of candidates for a Sandstorm team, both respective Sandstorm types and those who carry other types. Due to time and space, I’ll only focus on three Sandstorm sweepers and two Sandstorm walls/defensive teammates.
Lucario is a versatile Pokémon that not only packs a huge punch, but also comes with plenty of defenses. It’s three weaknesses (fire, fighting and ground) are easily overshadowed by its 10 resistances, so Lucario can counter plenty of unsuspecting opponents. It can also run as a special or physical sweeper with its amazing stat distribution and diverse move set. Some of its versatile moves are Dark Pulse, Dragon Pulse, Ice Punch, Extreme Speed, Close Combat and Aura Sphere. Depending on the set that you run, equip Lucario with either Calm Mind or Swords Dance to boost up its respective stats. This signature steel type is a must for anyone running a Sandstorm team.
This steel/psychic type is yet another dual-typed Pokémon that runs rampant in competitive play, particularly in Sandstorm teams. Its stat distribution is outstanding; sporting 135/130 attack/defense respectively and decent HP, SpAtk and SpDef stats. Its speed is the only lackluster stat of the bunch, capping at a mediocre 70 (and in the super speedy metagame, this could make a huge difference). Metagross has far more advantages than shortcomings, though. You can use it as a lead to set up Stealth Rock and end with an Explosion, or a mid-game attacker using moves such as Bullet Punch, Zen Headbutt Earthquake and Ice Punch. The steel/psychic typing also brings only a mere two (but common) weaknesses: fire and ground. Another staple to any Sandstorm team, Metagross shines in battle as both a defensive and an offensive player.
Expecting this generation 1 mole Pokémon? Probably not, but Dugtrio has plays the role of a revenge killer in Sandstorm teams, and it does the job very well. Just to clarify, a revenge killer is a Pokémon that is used to KO your opponents Pokémon that just KO’ed your teammate, hence the name “revenge” killer. Dugtrio has a number of tricks that make him arguably the best revenge killer around. First, its excellent typing gives Dugtrio a variety of moves to take out weakened opponents such as Sucker Punch, Earthquake, Stone Edge and Pursuit. Second, its excellent speed and decent attack stat allow it to strike before your opponent. Lastly, it’s ability “Arena Trap” makes it so grounded opponents (non flying types) cannot switch out. One must be careful, though. Dugtrio is quite frail in both defenses and HP, so even neutral attacks can land a OHKO against it.
Skarmory is another common Sandstorm teammate. The steel/flying typing negates a number of weaknesses such as ground, rock, ice and fighting. Its massive defense state and ability to set up Spikes and Stealth Rock make it an asset for entry hazard users. Boost Skarmory’s defenses with SpDef and HP EVs to create a wall that’s capable of taking nearly any attack
This grass/steel type brings a whole new set of tactics to Sandstorm teams. Combined with an excellent defensive typing and entry hazard support, you have another lead candidate for Sandstorm users. Ferrothorn comes with the ability to set up Spikes, Stealth Rock and Leech Seed. It also comes with the ability Iron Barbs, which takes out 12.5% of the opponents HP whenever Ferrothorn is hit with a physical attack. This will make the opponent think twice before attacking Ferrothorn for fear of chip damage, thus forcing a switch. It also comes with a decent attack stat, so STAB moves such as Power Whip and Gyro Ball can inflict some serious pain on the opponent.
Sandstorm proves to be a viable tactic used in competitive play. There are dozens of diverse Pokémon useable in Sandstorm teams, so I unfortunately had to pick a number of Pokémon to write about. Some honorable mentions for Sandstorm candidates go out to Starmie, Blissey, Heatran, Jirachi, Cradily and Terrakion. Exadrill is easily the best Pokémon used in a Sandstorm team, but due to its insane stats and abilities, it’s been sent off to the Uber tier to compete with the likes of Mewtwo and Arceus.
What do you think weather effects will bring to Generation 6? Do you think they’ll have added effects? Will new abilities and attacks will be created for Sandstorm users? I’m personally excited for new Pokémon for Sandstorm teams and (quite possibly) new weather types!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the read! Please leave any feedback you might have in the comments section. I’ll be sure to check and respond accordingly.
Dae’s note: XY news has wound down and every little detail has been speculated to death, so we have nothing much more to report on this week. News and rumours can trickle in again any moment though, so be sure to keep checking back daily.