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ADV 50 Accept No Substitute

Discussion in 'Analysis and Research' started by Disaster Area, Sep 1, 2019.

  1. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    Introduction

    ADV 50 is particularly interesting metagame to follow the development of for a number of reasons: firstly, the absence of "cheese" strategies, compared to other metagames, keeps the metagame closer to more honest and pure competitive Pokemon, and secondly because of the absence of exceptionally strong or centralising offensive forces means nothing is close to being what is typically perceived as broken. It should come at no surprise that balance is a prominent and effective playstyle in the tier. As the exploration and development of the metagame has progressed, Substitute has shown itself to be an extremely powerful and versatile option in the metagame; let's delve into why that is.

    Understanding the depth of Substitute's utility in ADV 50 requires some understanding of the shape of the metagame. Forretress is a key to that understanding. Forry is an impressive spiker, with a resilience that contours the shape of the metagame around it. Many of the most dangerous potential users of Choice Band, like Granbull, Scyther, and Aggron, fall flat against it, as well as some of the most impressive tanks, like Mantine, Whiscash, and Lanturn. It enables Spikes to go up fairly easily versus a number of common Pokemon, and is an enabler of some kinds of Substitute abuse, because of the benefit it provides to using Pokemon that can force a lot of switches while not being as easly forced out themselves. Furthermore, Forretress is a Pokemon famously liable to passivity, with few tools beyond Toxic and Explosion to prevent it from being exploited as a set-up opportunity - both moves which become virtually useless when a Substitute comes up against it. Other common tanks and walls in the tier, such as Meganium, Whiscash, and Mantine have a similar problem, though they carry greater firepower and coverage than Forretress does. Combined with the previously acknowledged prominence of balance in the tier, it is easy to see why there is such merit to the move in ADV 50. And not only that, the tier is quite lacking in phazers - Steelix and Mightyena are the only Pokemon to regularly run the move. A couple of other Pokemon, like Aggron or Camerupt, could utilise the move, but generally have better things to be doing.

    Given that understanding of why Substitute is such a strong and ubiquitous move in the tier, let's move on to lookng at the different types of substitute abuse, and what abusers there are.

    Boosting Sweepers

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    Boosting sweepers are a really dangerous way of abusing Substitute, as every free turn they're given they can snowball that advantage further. That being said, few Pokemon can satisfactorily combine Substitute with a boosting move and have adequate coverage with their remaining two moves.

    Azumarill is the most dangerous Pokemon in the tier to give a free turn to. Bunny Drum is the name given to the strategy of running an Azumarill with the following set:

    If this sets up successfully, it can OHKO EVERY Pokemon in the tier that doesn't resist it with Return, and almost everything that doesn't get OHKO'd by Return takes massive damage - if not being outright OHKO'd - by Hydro Pump. It has few weaknesses once it's set up, which are that even after a Salac Berry boost, a fair number of Pokemon nonetheless outspeed it, and Misdreavus is immune to Return and is nowhere close to being 2HKO'd by Hydro Pump. If this thing gets in safely against Forretress, it could soon be game-ending, though against teams lacking Forretress it has fewer possible set-up opportunities. Crawdaunt, compared to Azumarill, sets up a little more easily since its secondary Dark-typing makes it a good answer to a number of Pokemon, and can do so more than once a game, but it's less immediately game-breaking after boosting than Azumarill.

    Golduck is a very versatile offensive threat, running Calm Mind in a few different ways, with Hypnosis, 3 Attacks, RestTalk, or indeed Substitute. SubCM Golduck is not only designed to set up on Forretress but also Mantine, which can't break the substitutes in a single hit, and so can't land Toxic. Hypnosis variants of Golduck are usually the most potent, but Substitute is a strong move on Golduck, benefiting from some amount of surprise factor. Substitute and Calm Mind also works nicely on Misdreavus, even though its stats are generally on the lower end. It has a few useful immunities and coverage that few Pokemon resist, with the combination of Psychic and Thunderbolt.

    Substitute Passing

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    Both Fearow and Venomoth can't really do much on their own behind a Substitute. Venomoth is good at generating free turns but doesn't do that much to really make use of it on its own, while Fearow can only boost itself with Agility and doesn't love the fact that, even if it sets up a Substitute against Forretress, it's still getting up 3 layers of Spikes. However, both Fearow and Venomoth have access to Baton Pass, opening up a world of possibilities. Mixed attackers like Typhlosion, Nidoqueen, or Sharpedo for instance become only more dangerous behind a Substitute, guaranteeing them the ability to do heavy damage before being forced out. Scyther is similar to Fearow in its capabilities at passing Substitute, but its weakness to Forretress's HP Fire (meaning Forry can break Scyther's substitutes) is a significant tradeoff for the higher speed and fighting resistance which Scyther has to offer.

    Low HP Abuse

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    There are a few reasons you might want to use Substitute to lower your HP:
    - Substitute can be used to activate pinch berries
    - Lower HP makes Flail and Reversal stronger, and Endeavor more effective

    Endure can be used in a similar fashion, but the benefits of Substitute are usually greater, and it's an easier move to use. SubPetaya is an uncommon but strong variant of Typhlosion, seen less often than mixed variants, but it has a lot of traits that make it effective. Firstly, when at a low HP, not only will the Petaya Berry activate, boosting its Special Attack to new heights, but its ability Blaze is triggered, taking STAB Fire Blast's raw power to truly epic levels. Typhlosion can achieve fairly good coverage with 3 attacks, usually with Thunder Punch and Hidden Power Ice or Grass rounding out the moveset. In addition to all of that, Typhlosion is one of the fastest Pokemon in the tier, so boosting its speed is hardly necessary.

    Hitmonlee has access to Reversal, and can synergise Substitute and Reversal with Focus Punch, making it dangerous even without being at a low HP level, but the plethora of common Pokemon which resist Fighting means that it really hurts for the lack of coverage such a set demands, so SubPunch Reversal Hitmonlee is quite a rarity in the tier.

    Aggron and Crawdaunt can both run Substitute with Endeavor, weakening their targets for their teammates to pick off. Aggron can combine Substitute with Focus Punch on the same set, while Crawdaunt just makes use of Special attacks. Neither of them run the set as their primary set, but both are serious and potentially deadly options in the right situation.

    Other Uses

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    There are some abusers of Substitute that don't use it for a power boost or to pass it along to a teammate. Amongst the best of them is Jumpluff, a fast and frail annoyer with a deep movepool. The most typical Jumpluff set which abuses Substitute is some kind of SubSeed variant, with Giga Drain and Hidden Power Fire to scare off spinners that may clear the seeds away, though Toxic for Meganium, Sleep Powder, and Encore are all really interesting options to explore on it. The main challenge with Jumpluff is to get it going, as it's frail and doesn't force out all that many Pokemon, but if you do set it up the reward is huge, as it's incredibly difficult to take out, or even force out, and it forces endless switches, which is particularly deadly in combination with Spikes. Substitute and Toxic work together fairly well too, as Substitute can force the opponent to take greater damage from Toxic, and it is a strategy that works well with Spikes. Manectric is a decent abuser of the move, as it doesn't need more than 2 moveslots for it to maximise its offensive coverage capabilities, and it can force out some common Pokemon like Mantine with the immense power of its Thunderbolts. The fast Flying-types of the tier, like Crobat and Fearow, can use SubToxic too as a way to cause troubles on their own once Forretress is out of the picture, though it is far less threatening than Fearow's SubPass approach.
     

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