InfiniteAntar of the Smogon University community, the unofficial authority of the fan-driven competitive Pokemon scene, shared on Twitter today the most “Overused (OU)” (read: popular and top tier usage) 1v1 ‘mons currently in the Sun and Moon meta. Currently the cut off is anything under 50% usage, but above 3.41% on the Pokemon Showdown battle simulator. You can check it out for yourself below at the end of this post. Unsurprisingly, Sun and Moon staples such as Landorus, Tapu Lele and Tapu Koko are highly used. Old school powerhouses like Heatran, Latios, Zapdos, and even Mew crack the list as well.
To the uninitiated, seeing something like Pelipper rank this high might be bizarre but the competitive Pokemon scene is a unique one. Even “weak” Pokemon can contribute if they have a powerful niche. In this case, Pelipper has the sought after ability, Drizzle, which brings about the rain weather effect any time it enters battle, crucial for teams centered around taking advantage of rain.
If you’re not familiar with the Smogon tiers, and you’re looking at this for the first time, you might be wondering, where the heck are names like Mewtwo and Arceus? Aren’t they kick ass? Do I live in a universe where they actually suck? You don’t, don’t worry. Smogon’s most competitive tier of play is OU, and in that tier, leadership members of that community try to police it by banning Pokemon that are so powerful that not using them would put your team at a severe disadvantage. This is where Pokemon like Mewtwo, Arceus, and Darkrai live. It’s called the Uber tier, and you can play games in that meta too, just expect to see a lot of the same Pokemon over and over again.
And don’t worry, even if your favorite isn’t considered “Uber” or “OU” doesn’t mean that it’s not viable. It just means it’s less popular. Lots of Pokemon can be successful in the higher tiers of play, provided you have a clear strategy that makes use of their best qualities. Pachirisu, a Pokemon generally considering to be extremely weak, was famously used in a doubles tournament by Se Jun Park in 2014 and he won the whole damn thing. Keep in mind though that 1v1 play, which these tiers are generally used for, is a whole different animal than team play which is used by Nintendo in their events. It’s all very complex, and you’d be surprised to see what Pokemon you thought were extremely powerful, are actually in the lower tiers of play. Here’s a full list of Pokemon (it might not be as up to date as the list below) with their tier and Smogon suggested strategies.
Anyway, check out the list below and consider bookmarking Smogon if you’d like to wade into the world of competitive Pokemon battling.