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RBY OU / 1U (OverUsed) Lapras - most overrated Pokemon?

Discussion in 'Analysis and Research' started by lord of the crabs, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. lord of the crabs

    lord of the crabs Member

    Aug 30, 2017
    Likes Received:
    My opinion might be controversial and most people will probably disagree with me, but I would like to hear other peoples opinions on this and create discussion. I'm very open to being wrong here, please don't attack me no matter how much you disagree.

    I personally think that Lapras is the worst OU Pokemon or at the very least easily bottom 4 with Gengar, Golem and Jynx. It is rated way too high in viability rankings everywhere and never has it's OU status questioned.

    Let's look at Lapras's usage in the ladder and tournaments.


    I couldn't find usage stats for recent Pokemon Perfects tournaments, so we'll have to go with Smogon World Cups. I would like to see more data from recent tournaments if you have access to any. 2018 2019 As we can see, Lapras is in the bottom of the tier. 12.71% pick rate in 2018 with a 33% win rate and a measly 4% pick rate in 2019 with a 75% win rate. Lapras seems to be in close competition in usage with Jynx, Cloyster, Slowbro, Golem, Gengar and Jolteon.


    1 2 These are the last two usage stats from PS ladder. As we can see, Lapras is again one of the least used OU Pokemon only winning Cloyster and sometimes Slowbro in usage, with Jynx being the 4th least picked Pokemon.

    Lapras vs Cloyster, Gengar, Golem, Jolteon, Jynx and Slowbro

    These are the bottom feeders of OU tier in terms of usage everywhere.

    I would personally argue that Cloyster, Jolteon, and Slowbro are niche pokemon in OU all of whom have very useful niches in the OU tier and as such can have a low pick rate while easily being OU worthy.

    Gengar, Golem and Jynx are a gray area, but I still think all of them have more use in modern gen 1 OU than Lapras.

    I would further go ahead and argue that Lapras does not have a useful niche in 2019. He is a mid game Pokemon who doesn't counter almost anything.

    If you pair Lapras with an Electric pokemon, at best you are getting 3 hit KO'ed by Rhydons Earthquakes and at worst you are getting 2 hit by Rock Slides. If you pair him with a Rock type, you are banking on switching him in vs Starmies Blizzards and Chanseys Ice Beams, both of whom can easily kill Lapras with Thunderbolts. Not to mention Slowbro who sets up vs Lapras's Thunderbolts.

    He gets hard-chunked and Spec dropped by Psychics and almost equally chunked by Body Slams+paralyzed. Even if you get Lapras in, it is easily countered by the omnipresent Chansey/Starmey and even Jynx or Alakazam, or chain switches into his weak Thunderbolt/Body Slam. Sing Lapras is a low-reward high-risk strategy, same as Rest. Even if Lapras does successfully counter or check something, usually he gets so injured in the process that he is useless for the rest of the game. Low HP Lapras is dead weight.

    What makes him so highly valued now?

    Historical reasons and OU status
    Lapras was very much better back when Body Slams could paralyze Normal types in simulators. Lapras's tankiness had much more value as a switch in on Body Slams since Snorlax and Tauros were a lot worse at it. Especially Snorlax of that time benefited way more from Lapras's support in mid game in tanking hits than the paraslam immune tank Snorlax's of today.

    Lapras's ability to check paralyzed normal types and survive with a good amount of HP himself had much more value as he had those situations much more often back then. It was harder to switch in any normal type against Lapras's Body Slam, and lastly, Lapras wasn't hard walled nearly as hard by an unparalyzed Chansey.

    Lapras is in the bottom of OU usage everywhere, but IMO it is still deceptively high. Veteran players overvalue him because of how much better he used to be and newer players overvalue him because he is listed as an OU Pokemon everywhere.
    Nails likes this.
  2. magic9mushroom

    magic9mushroom BEST END. Member

    May 1, 2013
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    Lapras does get Sing, but of course these days most people expect it.

    I've always said Lapras teeters on the edge of Vaporeonitis. Cloy has Clamp and Explosion to give it a niche, and Lapras' Thunderbolt is of dubious value anyway since even with it Lapras doesn't match up very well against any of the other Waters (except Articuno, and it doesn't even really need Thunderbolt to win that one).
  3. Enigami

    Enigami Moderator

    Apr 24, 2015
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    Now that I think of it, I can't really say I disagree. Without Sing, nearly everything Lapras does Starmie does better, including switching into GolDon and Tauros.

    In terms of niche, I think there's a possibility even Gyarados has a more defined one, as Gyara's massive Attack stat means it isn't walled by Chansey/Alakazam/Jynx, has Earthquake immunity making it a better switch-in to GolDon, isn't outsped/weak to Victreebel post-Vic resurgence, and has a better crit rate to deal with Slowbro. Lap's ability to tank Lax hits better is also less relevant since Lax usually runs Body Slam+Ice Beam+Reflect+Rest, and Body Slam is a 4HKO on both Lapras and Gyarados. Tauros is admittedly a worse matchup since Lap avoids being KO'd by Slam > Slam > HB, but Gyara's Hydro Pump has about a ~44% chance (after accuracy) to 2HKO Tauros vs Lapras' ~25% with Blizzard, and a Hydro Pump from Gyara pushes the damage ranges into a comfortable KO for your own Tauros' HB. I think I've seriously considered Gyara for a team more often than I have Lapras in recent years, and Gyara is already low on the Waters totem pole.
  4. magic9mushroom

    magic9mushroom BEST END. Member

    May 1, 2013
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    Lapras' chance to 2HKO Tauros with Blizzard is 45.97%, factoring in everything (accuracy, crits, freezes). Gyarados' to 2HKO Tauros with Hydro Pump is 45.25%, again factoring in everything.

    Lapras can improve this to 46.73%, and Gyarados to 46.84%, via using a 255-accuracy move if their first STAB hit crits but gets a bad damage roll and Tauros is left on a sliver.

    So they're really pretty close there, although Lapras has a substantially better likelihood of OHKO (11.02% vs. 4.47%).

    Everything else you said about Gyarados is pretty true though.

    EDIT: For reference, Starmie has 40.22% to 2HKO Tauros with Psychic and 6.37% OHKO/49.06% 2HKO with Hydro Pump, improving to 51.33% 2HKO with a 255-accuracy finisher on the low-damage crit.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
    Enigami likes this.
  5. Ortheore

    Ortheore Host Emeritus

    May 16, 2013
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    Although I agree with Lap being overrated, I definitely think characterising Sing as a high risk low reward strategy is wrong. Lap's pretty decent at forcing switches, which means it finds opportunities to Sing, and also it outspeeds 3/4 S rank pokemon. Furthermore, the only thing that can actually block its sleep once paralysed is Chansey- Starmie, Zam and Jynx take enough damage that I wouldn't consider them reliable, and they'll also be forced to recover frequently and in a fairly predictable fashion, creating opportunities. This means that if you can avoid getting walled by Chansey, Sing can definitely land on a critical target. Unfortunately, that's never guaranteed, since Chansey can switch in on literally any TWave in the game, but hey, luring paralysed Chansey is something at least, and it's not as though everyone's going to be eating para with Chansey.
    Disaster Area likes this.
  6. magic9mushroom

    magic9mushroom BEST END. Member

    May 1, 2013
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    Eh, kinda. It's good at forcing switches if it can double-switch on Egg or a Rock. There's not really much else it can force out, and it doesn't really switch into even those very well.
    If your opponent has Mie or Zam, it's likely to land on Mie or Zam. That's not what I'd call a critical target since most people plan for them to get slept.

    Basically, a sleeper other than Egg has to do at least one of three things to be notably useful:

    1) Be able to sleep something other than the designated sleep-bait (e.g. Gengar and Victreebel when Starmie's sleep bait, LK Lax in tradebacks)
    2) Be a good lead
    3) Be reliable enough that you can dump Egg (e.g. Sing Chansey, or again LK Lax in tradebacks).

    Lapras definitely doesn't hit #2 since the list of good leads looks an awful lot like the list of Lapras' counters (aside from Chansey). It can't do #1 absent a blunder (less common these days) because the list of good sleep baits is, again, an awful lot like the list of Lapras' counters minus Chansey. It does have a fair bit of bulk, but it's still pretty shaky on #3 due to Sing's awful accuracy and its lack of reliable recovery.
  7. Lusch

    Lusch A critical hit! Member

    Sep 22, 2015
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    "This means that if you can avoid getting walled by Chansey, Sing can definitely land on a critical target."
    Lapras was really strong like 1,5 - 2 years ago. It was standard back then to trade paralysis with your lead. Neither Starmie nor Zam block Lapras Sing comfortably when paralyzed. That is one thing that made Lapras really strong. Once you got it in on a resting Snorlax or whatever, it would always threaten Sing and with the right prediction put something to sleep that was in fact a critical target (Chansey or Snorlax oftentimes). Late game sleeping something critical was also possible and something that sometimes could save people from defeat. Sing's accuracy has to cooperate though which we all know can get frustrating, so it is not exactly reliable, I agree. Still, this was what made Lapras really really strong at one point.

    Nowadays the curcumstances in the battles are usually not as kind to it anymore. People started varying on how they play their early games. Sometimes they stay in with Starmie / Alakazam Lead, sometimes there's gonna be a turn1 Chansey switch. If Chansey gets paralyzed t1 that is a nightmare for Lapras. Also people started to use Sing Chansey with a higher frequency, so the need for Sing Lapras has declined as a sleeper. Now, if you don't run Lapras as a sleeper, most stuff you want from it is already covered by Starmie. So people run that instead. If you want Lapras a a switch-in to Snorlax in the early and mid game (Snorlax frequently carries Reflect, Rest, BodySlam, X these days, where X is not seldom Ice Beam), Cloyster does that better thanks to Clamp, Explosion and physical bulk, that allow it to more effectively run a Rest set than Lapras can. Victreebel rising in usage as another non-lead sleeper other than Exeggutor that also outspeeds Lapras did not help either, I suppose.

    That is in short why Lapras is not used as much anymore at the moment, which has seemingly prompted this thread.
    Prof. J, Ortheore and Disaster Area like this.

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