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RBY OU / 1U (OverUsed) Leads in RBY [Version 2]

Discussion in 'Analysis and Research' started by Disaster Area, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    Original Version here.

    Introduction

    For those unfamiliar with the metagame, RBY 1U has a very defined lead metagame. Like in every generation up to BW, there's no Team Preview, so you have to choose a lead without knowing anything about your opponent's team. Of all the other generations, DPP places the most importance on leads due to the huge advantage gained by, for example, setting up Stealth Rock as early as possible. RBY not only doesn't have Stealth Rock but also has no hazards whatsoever! So, you might be wondering, why do I say that its lead metagame is so defined?

    This is because the sleep mechanics in RBY are somewhat different. Firstly, there's no Sleep Talk, so whatever that's put to sleep is useless until it wakes up. Secondly, Pokémon cannot move on the turn they wake up. And thirdly, sleep lasts from 0 to 6 turns, and since it is generally more likely that a sleeping Pokémon will wake up later on, it is rare for a Pokémon to wake up in any reasonable timeframe, and it will usually be KOed before it can do so. Furthermore, because much of the early-game involves spreading status through Thunder Waves, Body Slams, and Stun Spores, it's often best to put something to sleep before you start to spread paralysis becaus paralyzed Pokémon cannot be put to sleep1. All in all, this means that if your lead can put the opposing one to sleep, you'll be a Pokémon up over your opponent. Now that we've looked at why your choice of lead matters, let's look at what the best options are!

    [​IMG]

    Jynx

    - Lovely Kiss
    - Psychic
    - Blizzard
    - Rest / Counter

    Jynx is one of RBY's premier leads, as it has a lot of great traits that make it consistently threatening to any team. It has the 75% accurate Lovely Kiss, and only Gengar outspeeds it and carries a sleep move, making it a very reliable lead. Jynx can KO Gengar leads with Psychic if Gengar's Hypnosis misses and Jynx scores a critical hit, which happens roughly 10% of the time. This percentage is so high because in RBY, critical hits are based on Speed, so Jynx has a critical hit rate of roughly one in five. Blizzard is chosen over Ice Beam because it has 90% accuracy in this generation. Not only is Jynx a great sleep user, but it's also a fantastic absorber of sleep. Its resistances to Psychic and Ice, very common attacking types, combined with its high Special let it have a better chance than most Pokémon to survive until it wakes up.

    The final things that make Jynx a great lead are its high Special and critical hit rate, which mean that once it has put an opposing Pokémon to sleep, no Pokémon can come in completely comfortably (apart from other Jynx, but it's very rare to see it used outside of the lead position). While Chansey, Starmie, and Slowbro all have high Special and aren't too worried by Jynx's onslaught, the threat of freezes from Blizzard or critical hits forcing them to recover more makes them less than a safe switch-in every time. The other common Ice-types, Lapras, Articuno, and Cloyster, all dislike taking its powerful Psychic attack, but at least they cannot be frozen.

    Jynx's last moveslot is a filler move, not doing anything particularly important. I've listed a few of the options here, but the rest are unimportant.

    [​IMG]

    Gengar

    - Hypnosis
    - Explosion
    - Night Shade / Mega Drain
    - Thunderbolt

    Gengar is an interesting lead in RBY: it's inconsistent and risky to use, but it can potentially be very rewarding. It is the fastest Pokémon with a sleep move, but Hypnosis's 60% accuracy is notoriously unreliable. Furthermore, it has access to the powerful move Explosion, which has an effective Base Power of 340, making it a strong attack even on a Pokémon with low Attack such as Gengar. Gengar can also absorb Explosion, as it has a handy Normal-type immunity. The frequency of Normal-type attacks in the tier makes Gengar one of the more useful Pokémon to absorb sleep too. Thunderbolt allows it to threaten Starmie leads: a critical hit Psychic from Starmie can KO it, but a critical hit Thunderbolt can KO Starmie. Though Gengar won't often stay in versus Starmie, it puts Starmie in a risky position at the start of the match.

    However, not all is peachy for RBY's only fully evolved Ghost-type, as its secondary Poison typing leaves it with horrible Ground and Psychic weaknesses, and it lacks any good special STAB moves to make use of its good Special stat, so it has to rely on Night Shade to damage its best answer, Exeggutor.

    [​IMG]

    Alakazam

    - Psychic
    - Recover
    - Thunder Wave
    - Seismic Toss

    Alakazam is often touted as the best absorber of sleep in the game due to its high Special and great typing, and it's the best lead for safely spreading paralysis. Furthermore, it has the safest matchup versus Gengar of any Pokémon, as Gengar must switch out most of the time for fear of being KOed by a critical hit Psychic. Though Alakazam is powerless to stop Exeggutor (leading or after a Gengar switch) from putting it to sleep, Exeggutor getting paralyzed early on can be costly for the Exeggutor user. Seismic Toss gives Alakazam an advantage when it's facing other Psychic-types, and is particularly useful versus Exeggutor and Jynx.

    All in all, Alakazam is a consistent lead that allows you to spread paralysis early on. Its main issues are that you may not want to spread paralysis before putting something to sleep, and that you risk paralyzing Chansey if your opponent predicts correctly. It is sometimes undesirable to paralyze Chansey because then it is invulnerable to being frozen by another Pokemon. Paralyzing Chansey can be advantageous, but it often forces you to play more aggressively.

    [​IMG]

    Starmie


    - Psychic
    - Recover
    - Thunder Wave
    - Blizzard

    Starmie is a very similar lead to Alakazam, but there are subtle reasons to use it instead. Its secondary Water typing is the most obvious difference; it means a weakness to Thunderbolt (from Gengar in the lead spot and Chansey at other points in the game) and Mega Drain (from Exeggutor; it's a weak attack, doing around 30-40%, but this matters if Starmie's asleep or paralyzed), but it also gives Starmie a key resistance to Ice. However, the real reason to run it over Alakazam is its movepool. Blizzard is a fantastic tool that gives it a much better matchup versus Exeggutor and a reasonable matchup versus Alakazam. Ice / Psychic is a great coverage combination in RBY. Thunder Wave, while useful for spreading paralysis early-game, is also very useful for allowing Starmie to guarantee crippling Tauros if it's unparalyzed late-game. Starmie's other options include Thunderbolt, which is primarily for Slowbro and other Starmie, only the latter of which is relevant if you're using this set as a lead, as well as hitting Jynx neutrally; meanwhile, Surf, Hydro Pump, and Hyper Beam, all uncommon or rare moves to see on Starmie, allow it to hit Jynx and Alakazam much harder.

    Basically, Starmie offers versatility and a greater amount of unpredictability in the lead position, having the ability to absorb sleep fairly well, a more expansive movepool, and an Ice resistance to give reasons to use it over Alakazam. Starmie is currently the most popular lead in the metagame, so while its advantages might seem small, it is clear that they're key in the metagame.

    [​IMG]

    Jolteon


    - Thunderbolt
    - Thunder Wave
    - Pin Missile
    - Double Kick

    Jolteon, although lacking a Sleep move, and not being as good a sleep absorber as Alakazam, Jynx, or Starmie, is nevertheless a good choice of lead. Starmie is forced out, Gengar hates being paralyzed - and therefore is likely to switch out too, it KOes Jynx at a faster rate than any of the previously mentioned Pokémon (using Thunderbolt), and it can win versus Alakazam too. To qualify all of that though, Jolteon generally switches out versus Alakazam, due to not wishing to be paralyzed so early; Rhydon and Golem may often come in versus Jolteon on the first turn, though this can allow Exeggutor to switch in and use Sleep Powder, and Chansey often comes in too. Teams with a lead Jolteon need to be able to cope reasonably well with the Rock-types, and with Chansey when paralyzed, but overall Jolteon is a powerful, fast, and very aggressive lead, making it a very serious choice for a team.

    Honorable Mentions


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    There are other options for leads, although the ones listed above are the only ones you should expect to see in serious games. Exeggutor and Hypno are the best options that weren't previously mentioned. Jynx is generally a better lead than either, however they can prove to be more useful later on in the match than Jynx might, so there exists that benefit. Hypno has access to Counter, and both Exeggutor and Hypno can spread paralysis as well as sleep. Nonetheless, they are generally inferior to Jynx as leads.

    Dodrio and Dugtrio get mentions for being threatening leads, but both have few good matchups with the above leads; Dodrio can threaten Jynx with an OHKO from Hyper Beam over half the time and can always 2HKO Exeggutor with Drill Peck, but it is easily stopped by Golem and Rhydon and has poor matchups with other leads. Meanwhile, Dugtrio is very threatening to Gengar and outspeeds all other common leads (bar Jolteon, which it doesn't mind whatsoever), even threatening a 2HKO versus Alakazam, although they have the same base speed, and Dugtrio is 2HKOd in return. However, Dugtrio is threatened by Blizzard from Jynx and Starmie, and can only 4HKO Exeggutor at best. Fun gimmicks such as Sing Chansey, or a Snorlax, could be used too, but I'd use one of the Pokémon from the first section when battling seriously, rather than anything mentioned in this section. Ninetales also can OHKO Jynx, spread burns (not a very good thing), Fire Spin, Confuse Ray, and Body Slam.

    I hope you've enjoyed learning about lead Pokémon in RBY 1U; it's a part of the metagame where you can really see how players differ and how your choices affect the way the game plays out.

    1Technically that's not totally true, but there's a very small set of exceptions to this so the overall point stands.

    Additional Resources
    Gengar versus Jynx Calculations
    Gengar versus Exeggutor Calculations
    Alakazam versus Jynx [Seismic Toss Damage]
    The Complete RBY Mechanical Guide
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
  2. Enigami

    Enigami Moderator

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    In honorable mentions you neglect to mention anything about Ninetales despite displaying it with the others. Other than that, good stuff.
     
  3. magic9mushroom

    magic9mushroom BEST END. Member

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    Starmie can KO Jynx about as easily as Jolteon can. And Pin Missile, while better than Zam's Seismic Toss, still isn't as good vs. Egg as Blizzard (less accurate, less likely to 3HKO, and the "but what if I get super-lucky and crit with 5 hits and get a good damage roll" is laughable in the face of Blizzard's freeze chance (1.1% vs. 9.1%)).
     
  4. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    How does starmie KO jynx? If it's with its Water STAB that's quite a costly moveslot for it, since it's mediocre coverage. Jolt can 3HKO Jynx with its standard moveset using Tbolt.
     
  5. Lutra

    Lutra Site Founder Owner

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    No, they're not. Very rare is Reflect. Surf + Hydro Pump are just uncommon, while Hyper beam is rare.

    meanwhile a Crescent moon, Full moon and Shooting Star are all very rare sights in the night sky.
     
    Disaster Area likes this.
  6. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    okay sure I can change that lmao
     
  7. magic9mushroom

    magic9mushroom BEST END. Member

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    You're deciding pre-game what you're going to do if you face Jynx t1, since you have no information besides the Jynx lead.

    If you're going for TWave, you stick TWave on Starmie. 56% of the time either lead is asleep before getting to follow up; Starmie has a better wakeup threat because it resists Jynx's STABs and has Recover. 44% of the time you get to follow up: Jolteon's way better at doing damage in that scenario, I'll agree, but Thunderbolt has no secondary vs. a paralysed opponent while Psychic can neuter Jynx with a special fall. Considering all the cases, I'd call that about even.

    If you're going for damage, you stick Water STAB or Hyper Beam on Starmie (Surf's mediocre, but Hydro Pump and Hyper Beam are both good choices for a tri-attacking Starmie). Jolt's got a slightly better chance of getting the KO, I believe, but not by much (it's 15% vs. 12% or something). And again, it's not particularly likely that you'll get the KO, so there's a fair chance you'll be snoozing and Starmie's better wakeup threat rears its head.

    But eh, whatever.


    Also, there's some factual errors on Dugtrio. Dugtrio only speedties Alakazam and only 3HKOs Starmie with Earthquake (and even that's not guaranteed). If it 2HKOed Starmie with Earthquake, it would actually be really good (it'd also 2HKO Chansey, and non-STAB Ice moves don't OHKO Dugtrio). It's also not "completely walled" by Exeggutor, since Slash is a 4HKO (so it's no worse than Night Shade Gengar).

    Also, Sing Chansey shouldn't be in the same breath as Snorlax as a lead. It's about as good a lead as Exeggutor (about as terrible vs. Jynx, slightly worse vs. Gengar, way better vs. Starmie and about as awesome vs. Alakazam) and easily as good as Hypno (it's just that you're measuring it against having a Chansey to do other stuff, whereas you're not measuring it against having a Hypno to do other stuff since Hypno is bad). Lead Snorlax is just dumb; the only dumber leads I can think of (that are in OU) are Golem, Slowbro, Cloyster and Dragonite.

    (in Tradebacks, of course, Hypno is more likely to be "on your team anyway" and lead Snorlax is only as bad as lead Egg in normal RBY)
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
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  8. magic9mushroom

    magic9mushroom BEST END. Member

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    The history of the lead metagame is, in my opinion, rather interesting. Perhaps not worthy of being in the main article, but it sheds quite a bit of light on why people lead what they do. So, essay time.

    Phase 0-1 and half of 2 were before my time, so there's some second-hand information and in the case of 0 outright guesswork, but this is how I understand it.

    Phase 0: Naïve leads
    I suppose the "default" lead, back when RBY was new, would have been Exeggutor or Sing Chansey, as they're the best Pokemon with sleep moves (the story goes that the first Pokemon tournament, back before Sleep Clause and Species Clause or the Uber bans, was won by a 6-Chansey team; presumably it led Sing Chansey). Both are still plausible leads, particularly since Phase 2 and 3 leads have come into play, but are considered niche choices since they're rather valuable and the lead spot is a risky place for them.

    Phase 1: Sleep leads
    Of course, as the metagame took shape, it was quickly realised that faster Pokemon with sleep moves could put Exeggutor and Chansey leads to sleep first, and thus gain the advantage. Jynx in particular has a massive advantage over Exeggutor, as it not only outspeeds Exeggutor with the 75%-accurate Lovely Kiss, but resists Exeggutor's primary STAB of Psychic and has a super-effective STAB of its own in Blizzard to terrify Exeggutor. But Jynx itself is outsped by another sleep-using Pokemon: Gengar, with the 60%-accurate Hypnosis.

    For quite a while, Gengar was considered the ultimate lead Pokemon; there are no faster Pokemon with sleep moves, so a Gengar will usually win in any contest of sleep leads. This was the state of the metagame when RBY2K10 was founded and the metagame started to again see significant activity. Both of these leads are still competitively relevant, though Gengar's effectiveness has drastically dropped (and Jynx's risen) since Phase 2 leads were invented.

    Phase 2: Anti-sleep leads

    It was around 2010 or 2011 when a major realisation was made: while no Pokemon with a sleep move outspeeds Gengar, it has type weaknesses to Ground and Psychic and therefore some faster Pokemon could threaten to outright KO Gengar before it could use Hypnosis. The only Pokemon that outspeed Gengar and can threaten to OHKO it are Starmie, Alakazam, Dugtrio and Mewtwo, all of them requiring a critical hit to succeed. Mewtwo is, of course, banned and Dugtrio is generally considered too weak for use even as a throwaway lead. Starmie requires Psychic to threaten Gengar, and at the time Psychic was considered an inferior attacking choice on Starmie (the devastating effect of Special drops was not yet really understood), so Alakazam it was. Alakazam's high critical hit rate, and Hypnosis' poor accuracy, together mean that when a Psychic Alakazam faces a Hypnosis Gengar, it is more likely that Gengar will be KOed than that Alakazam will be put to sleep. This created the first true lead metagame in RBY OU, because Alakazam does not pose a KO threat to Jynx: as such, Gengar leads beat Jynx leads beat Alakazam leads beat Gengar leads in a scissors-paper-rock loop.

    However, the Alakazam lead did have its flaws. While its STAB Psychic certainly scared away a Gengar lead, the player leading Gengar could simply switch to Exeggutor on the first turn. Essentially all competitive teams use an Exeggutor anyway (among other things, as a backup sleeper in case one's Gengar was put to sleep by an opposing Gengar), and Alakazam can only threaten Exeggutor with Seismic Toss, a 4HKO that cannot make use of Alakazam's critical hit rate and has no secondary effect. It was in the latter half of 2012 that Starmie finally began to see use as a lead, as several prominent players (including Redemption, GGFan, and myself) started to use Blizzard/Psychic Starmie to threaten both lead Gengar and the possible Exeggutor switch. Blizzard achieves a 3HKO on Exeggutor, which can become a 2HKO with a critical hit or an effective OHKO with a freeze; as such, switching an Exeggutor into a lead Starmie is unwise and the Starmie player gains momentum in the sleep game. Starmie does have a couple of other differences from Alakazam; it is slightly less effective against Gengar leads that stay in since Starmie is weak to Gengar's Thunderbolt (but rare is the player who would take that risk), and it resists Ice, helping to soften the Lovely Kiss -> Blizzard spam strategy that Jynx leads can employ to great success when faced with Alakazam. At first glance it would seem that an Alakazam lead would have an advantage over a Starmie lead, since Alakazam usually wins that matchup; however, the Starmie player can safely switch to Exeggutor while the Alakazam player cannot, and as such it's roughly neutral.

    While similar ideas for outspeeding and KOing Jynx were tried, none of them really caught on for three reasons: firstly, the only competitively viable Pokemon to outspeed and threaten OHKO on Jynx is Tauros, which is considered too valuable to risk to sleep, secondly, Jynx's better accuracy on its sleep move makes it near-impossible to obtain the >50% KO rate Starmie and Alakazam achieve vs. Gengar, and lastly Gengar itself already existed to counter a Jynx lead.

    The Starmie lead slowly caught on throughout 2013 and 2014, and is now considered an absolutely key part of the lead metagame, although Alakazam still gives it competition.

    Phase 3: Jolteon, the anti-anti-lead

    Of course, as Starmie became more and more common as a lead, people started looking for a lead that actually countered it (rather than losing, as Gengar does, or being something of a wash like Alakazam or Jynx). And they didn't have to look far; it had always been well-known that Jolteon outspeeds Starmie and threatens it with massive damage (or an outright OHKO on a critical hit) whilst having no special weaknesses for Starmie to exploit. As such, Jolteon became a niche lead. Its popularity increased, however, following one of the most embarrassing incidents in competitive Pokemon history. It was discovered in December 2014 that several of the game's mechanics had been implemented wrongly in simulators for over a decade, including a rule that Body Slam could not paralyse Normal-types. One of the knock-on effects from this cataclysm was that Jolteon's best counters, the Rock/Ground Pokemon Golem and Rhydon, lost popularity (as they no longer possessed any way to inflict paralysis on Chansey and Tauros). Jolteon therefore became a much more viable Pokemon in RBY OU, and hence the cost of leading with it decreased. While Jolteon isn't nearly as dangerous to a Gengar lead as Starmie and Alakazam, and doesn't achieve much against Alakazam leads, it's at least as good against a Jynx lead as the Recover users and gives immediate momentum against a Starmie lead. It also poses some threat to Exeggutor with its weak but 4x super-effective Pin Missile. Jolteon's still not precisely considered a "top" lead, but it's definitely become a competitively viable lead and thus significant in the metagame.

     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  9. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    I'd probably note Twave as the 4th most likely on Starmie in Phase 2.

    Tagging @GGFan as our resident expert of early RBY to comment on earlier phases.

    That's pretty awesome stuff m9m :]
     
  10. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    Sobi Sans Lutra should this remain in Analysis and Research or be moved to Mew's Magazine?
     
  11. Sobi

    Sobi hi Member

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    mew's magazine imo, if anyone disagrees, though, feel free to
     
  12. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    Well I was ??? over it b/c it's a 'version' of an article originally from The Smog, that I initially wrote but I'm not sure who GP checked.
     
  13. wyc2333

    wyc2333 Member

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    the order of leads should be rearranged. gar definitely shouldn't be ranked higher than mie and zam.
    + ---- + ----------------------- + ---- + ------- + ------- +
    | Rank | Leads | Use | Usage % | Win % |
    + ---- + ----------------------- + ---- + ------- + ------- +
    | 1 | Starmie | 68 | 38.64% | 54.41% |
    | 2 | Alakazam | 55 | 31.25% | 41.82% |
    | 3 | Exeggutor | 23 | 13.07% | 47.83% |
    | 4 | Jynx | 22 | 12.50% | 59.09% |
    | 5 | Gengar | 5 | 2.84% | 60.00% |
    | 6 | Chansey | 2 | 1.14% | 0.00% |
    | 7 | Hypno | 1 | 0.57% | 100.00% |
    "It should be mentioned that Sing Chansey can also function as a lead; although its matchup against faster sleepers such as Gengar, Jynx, and Exeggutor is abysmal, it is able to comfortably land a Sing when facing common leads such as Alakazam and Starmie."
    idk if lead lax is worth mentioning.

    references:
    Rise of Starmie lead
    https://www.smogon.com/dex/rb/pokemon/chansey/
    RBY OU / 1U (OverUsed) - Matchup in RBY | Pokémon Perfect
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
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  14. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    I guess it's not clear but it was never ordered in order of strength. Gar's clearly the worst of the first 4.

    The thread is probably a bit out of date, I wrote it well over 4 years ago. Would be nice if people wrote more up-to-date analyses, articles, etc. but... doesn't seem that's where things are at. I don't plan to update my analyses (especially in RBY) as the metagame changes and so on.
     

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