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RBY 2U-L (Under1U) The Normal Sweepers of 2U [GP/Discussion Ready]

Discussion in 'Analysis and Research' started by Ortheore, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. Ortheore

    Ortheore Host Emeritus

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    Introduction

    In RBY 1U, Tauros reigns supreme, being recognised as the strongest pokemon available for practically all of the tier's lengthy history. This stands in stark contrast to the situation in RBY 2U, where we see a number of Normal type sweepers competing for teamslots, with no one pokemon being a dominant force. How do we pick between them? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Let's take a look.

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    Parental Authority
    Kangaskhan is widely recognised to be a poor man's Tauros. In 1U this is a slight against it, but in 2U this is a very good description to possess, and this is reflected in its viability, as it stands as the most popular choice of Normal type in the tier. Looking at its base stats we see that it has excellent physical bulk, strong attack and speed stats and a poor Special stat, with the latter being mitigated somewhat by it high HP. Much like Tauros in 1U, Kangaskhan's movepool gives it exactly what it needs to be a threat, as fearsome STAB Normal attacks are complemented by Earthquake and Surf, which land 2HKOs on Haunter and Rhydon respectively. Another viable option for Kangaskhan is to run Counter in place of Surf, making it less effective against Rhydon in return for a superior matchup against opposing Normal types. Kangaskhan's biggest flaw is probably its mediocre speed, as a number of ubiquitous threats are able to outpace it and often cripple it with paralysis or hammer it with special attacks.

    So why pick Kangaskhan? As I said before, it plays very similarly to Tauros in 1U, so a lot of what can be said of Tauros can be said of Kangaskhan. Its biggest strengths are its movepool and its physical bulk. Access to Surf and Earthquake means that Kangaskhan is not walled by the likes of Rhydon and Haunter, where the other Normals are otherwise hard countered by one or the other. Defensively it is leaps and bounds ahead of the other Normals, despite having comparable special bulk to Dodrio and Persian. Its formidable physical bulk makes it an excellent choice against the other Normal types of the tier and also the mighty Rhydon, with Kangaskhan being the best of the few viable pokemon that aren't 2HKO'd by Rhydon.

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    Cat Amongst the Pidgeons

    In the context of 1U, Persian has long been a niche option. It's not hard to see the appeal, thanks to its blistering speed and potent STAB Slash. In 2U, these traits are even more pronounced, as Persian is the fastest relevant threat in 2U, while its Slash out-damages Body Slam from the other Normal types, even after you account for their potential for critical hits (although the margin is slim when comparing to Dodrio). Other moves that Persian typically runs are Hyper Beam (used mostly for fishing for crits), Bubblebeam (targets Rhydon) and Thunderbolt (targets Gyarados), but really Slash is Persian's main draw and the move it will be using most of the time. Sadly, a number of shortcomings prevent it from truly dominating. The first is its paper-thin defenses, which ensure it's not difficult to 2HKO Persian. The second is that its attack is actually rather weak. This is compensated for somewhat by Slash's absurd critical hit rate but when using other moves, most notably Hyper Beam, it becomes painfully apparent as it often has to rely on critical hits to achieve a meaningful damage output (an ordinary Hyper Beam only barely outdamages crit Slash). Lastly, 2U does not provide an escape from Ghost types, as Haunter walls Persian just as thoroughly as Gengar does in 1U.

    Overall Persian has substantial flaws, but there's a good amount of appeal to it as well. As a sweeper, it's hard to overlook its blistering speed, as outpacing practically everything is no joke. Possibly the next biggest draw is consistency- thanks to Slash's critical hit rate of approximately 99.6%, you know that with every attack Persian is going to be dealing hefty damage to the opponent. Its weak Hyper Beam is a major issue for it though, as Slash's high damage output doesn't always compensate for it, which limits it in some matchups, with Kadabra and Tentacruel being notable examples, where Persian usually fails to OHKO and 2HKO respectively, something Kangaskhan and Dodrio have no difficulty with. These issues also become more stark when dealing with weakened foes, as Hyper Beam becomes a more attractive option in those scenarios.

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    Third Head, Third Wheeling

    As far as raw stats go, Dodrio is arguably the most potent Normal sweeper in the game. With a monstrous base 110 Attack and excellent base 100 Speed it truly is a force to be reckoned with. Like most Normal types, it has access to Body Slam and Hyper Beam, while its STAB Drill Peck allows it to circumvent Counter and Haunter and get super effective hits against the likes of Victreebel and Poliwrath. Sadly, it comes with some hefty drawbacks. Much like Persian, it is best described as a glass cannon, being rather easy to 2HKO. Its typing doesn't help either, as Electric and Ice weaknesses are problematic, while there are few positive traits beyond a resistance to Razor Leaf. Its most damning flaw arises from its movepool- it is dependent on its STABs, which leave it hard-walled by Rhydon. If we compare with Persian, it's easy to note that Rhydon is both more common and more threatening than Haunter, making it a far worse flaw to have. Lastly, although its Speed is overall good, it falls notably short when compared to Persian.

    Compared with the other Normals, Dodrio is in an interesting position. Its Speed stat falls in the middle of Kangaskhan and Persian, as it cleanly outspeeds Kangaskhan, Haunter and Raticate, something Kangaskhan cannot claim, while tying with Raichu and Tentacruel and being outsped by Kadabra and Persian. Dodrio's secondary STAB gives it coverage against Grass types and Poliwrath, but otherwise its power is not significantly better than Kangaskhan's, although its powerful Hyper Beam does give it an edge over Persian in some other matchups. Overall, Dodrio is a lot closer to Kangaskhan in functionality than Persian is and so its niche is less distinct, meaning that on paper it's a bit tough to pick Dodrio over Kangaskhan, given the latter's relative lack of flaws.

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    The Oddball

    There is one last Normal type worth noting, although at first glance it may not seem that way. Raticate's Speed is nice, but its other stats are truly pathetic. Its Attack stat is only slightly better than Persian's but it doesn't have Slash to compensate for it, while Dodrio and Persian, two Pokemon widely known to be glass cannons, somehow have significantly more bulk than it. What could possibly redeem this otherwise terrible Pokemon? The answer to that question is Super Fang. By reducing the opponent's HP by half, Raticate is transformed from a garbage Pokemon to, well, a potent wallbreaker, albeit one that is extremely flawed. When talking about Normal types in RBY the distinction between wallbreakers and sweepers can sometimes be a bit hazy, but it can safely be said that Raticate is a wallbreaker that happens to have the potential to sweep, rather than the other way around. Its movepool gives it Body Slam and Hyper Beam to finish foes off, while Blizzard is used to potentially 2HKO Rhydon and also fish for freezes. Note that outside Super Fang it cannot touch Haunter, which is another mark against it.

    Why pick Raticate for your team? In all honesty, you will probably never find yourself in a position where you're teambuilding and Raticate happens to fill a role on your team the best, as its flaws are just too significant for it to be easily slotted onto a team, while its positive traits aren't quite distinctive enough. Instead it is a Pokemon that you build a team around, taking care to cover its weaknesses and maximise its strengths as you build from the ground up. If you do that, you'll find that Raticate isn't nearly as feeble as it may seem.

    Por que no los dos?

    It can be tough to pick just one Normal type, especially if you're tempted to use something that struggles to avoid being outclassed. Fortunately, there's no reason you can't use multiple Normal types in the same team. In fact, in the case of Dodrio and Raticate it's a very good idea, as the former can find itself outclassed by Kangaskhan and the latter works best clearing the way for another sweeper. The premise behind stacking Normal types is simple- use one as a wallbreaker then clean with the other. There aren't any universal Normal counters and all of the available checks are prone to getting worn down, so the offensive redundancy works in your favour here by targeting and overloading the opposing team's checks. The only weakness to be aware of is paralysis, as all of the Normal sweepers are crippled by it to varying extents, which is a notable constraint on teambuilding, so having good status absorbers is essential, while you should also think about how you're going to maximise opportunities for Normal types that bear little risk of paralysis.

    So there you have it! Each Normal type sweeper has its own perks and drawbacks, and part of the challenge of teambuilding is working out how to capitalise on those strengths while mitigating the weaknesses, and hopefully this article has helped outline what those strengths and weaknesses are as well as comparing the Normals to see how they stack up against each other.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
  2. Ortheore

    Ortheore Host Emeritus

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    Done!
     
    Disaster Area likes this.
  3. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Furr and Power Member

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    That was an awesome read, great article!~
     

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