Ban or Not: Hoopa-Unbound

By bhahn

I’m a very analytical person.  I love to debate, exchange facts, and convince people to do something.  Luckily in Pokèmon, there is a great time and place to do this: tier assignments.  Speculation isn’t my strong suit, so I’ll leave that on the back burner until more facts are available on Sun and Moon ‘mons.  That aside, I will be writing a series about several Pokèmon who are on the border between OU and banned in league format.  I’ll discuss three catagories: Typing/Stats/Ability, Movepool/Coverage, and Team Synergy/Prep.  I will decide whether these ‘mons should be allowed, and afterwards I will speculate (yay!) on how what we know about the new generation will potentially change their tiering.

So let’s start with the first entry.

Hoopa-Unbound

I remember laughing when I heard that this thing would be suspected in OU.  I know it’s good, but never did I expect it to clear Smogon’s standard tier.  I just scratched my head upon hearing it was no longer legal in OU.  Apparently, members of my league agree, as it was actually lowered to OU-B (we use the GBA’s old point system, but select a tier for each ‘mon ourselves).  Other leagues, like the GBA, left Hoopa on the banlist.  To see why, let’s break the Djinn Pokémon down.

Typing/Stats/Ability

One look at the base stat total proves that Hoopa-U is a beast.  This thing rivals Rayquaza in its ability to run crippling physical and special sets.  Dark and Psychic serve as predominantly special attacking types, so the choice specs set is run most often, but physical options are equally viable.  160 and 170 are no doubt Uber attack stats.  Special defense is strong as well.  The rest of the stats leave a bit to be determined.  Base 80 speed doesn’t cut it for sweeping; I always scarf Hoopa.  This flaw was a larger issue in OU, a much more speed-centric tier than Ubers, and an even bigger one in league play.  Hoopa’s defense is also very poor considering U-Turn is its Achilles’ heel.  Between the lack of speed and poor defense, Hoopa is left to wallbreak rather than sweep.  Magician is a pointless ability considering Hoopa-U needs a choice item to function in top form.  Dark and Psychic is a sound defensive type, with only two weakness; U-Turn one of only a handful of moves which can finish this dark magician.  Overall, only two of the six stats scream banlist, and while typing is strong defensively, Hoopa is to physically frail for it to matter in some cases.

Movepool/Coverage

Hoopa-U has all the STAB power it could ever ask for and then some.  On the special side, Dark Pulse is the primary dark STAB, while Psyshock is the psychic one (Psychic also works but forfeits the mixed coverage).  Conversly, Hyperspace Fury, Zen Headbutt, and Knock off work on the physical spectrum.  Non-STAB coverage is pretty standard for a special psychic type: Shadow Ball, Signal Beam, Focus Miss, Energy Ball, and Thunderbolt highlight the list.  Elemental punches offer much needed patching to complete Hoopa’s type coverage.  Given the insane stats in both offenses, this diverse moovepool makes Hoopa downright scary, especially in standard play.

Team Synergy/Prep

Hoopa, like Landorus-I in many ways, was banned in standard play because its unpredictability is too great.  But in the league format, preparation is far more critical and there are ways to mitigate Hoopa’s destructive power.  Almost any bug-type move will knock out Hoopa, and many ‘mons get signal beam.  Having a fast sweeper with Signal Beam can force Hoopa to run a scarf.  Defensive fairies can check choice scarfed Hoopa well, forcing switches and costing Hoopa’s team momentum.

Certain support is needed to aid Hoopa.  A strong steel type is ideal to shrug of bug and fairy type moves and to kill fairies in return (unless one is willing to risk running Gunk Shot). Good steel types are rare, so this is a bit of an issue for Hoopa teams.  Thunder Wave support is a must if Hoopa isn’t holding a choice scarf, as is Heal Bell support.

Final Thoughts

Hoopa is great and hits insanely hard, but its blasé speed is what keeps it from obliterating everything, especially in league format.  Hoopa is also crushed by status, and is too frail to survive the physical onslaught of OU unscathed.  It is not the only thing without switch ins: Victini V-Create is scarier in my opinion, as is a Mega Lop HJK or +2 Pinsir Return, and these are all faster.  Hoopa’s best selling points are more potent in standard play than league format.  It has just enough checks in the league format.

Verdict: Not Banned

Sun and Moon?

Z-moves are the main thing to watch here.  Hoopa already hits hard enough that it won’t be beneficial; z-moves will be better on weaker ‘mons.  That said, a z-type fairy or bug move will easily finish Hoopa if they are indeed as strong as advertised.  Depending on the availability of these moves, Hoopa may be left outgunned as well as outrun, sealing its fate as an unbanned Pokèmon.

Feel free to comment with Pokèmon you’d like to see discussed in future articles.

 

[Sep 29th, 2016]

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5 thoughts on “Ban or Not: Hoopa-Unbound

  1. Hello n_n
    In the “Types/Stats/Ability” you talked about how Hoopa-U has poor speed and defenses along with a poor ability. This I agree with, however, when you said it doesn’t make Hoopa-U ban worthy is when I disagree. Poor defenses and speed become irrelevant when Hoopa-U is given a free switch in, either by utilizing VolTurn, Double Switches, and Deaths. There are absolutely no switch in to Hoopa-U – in either standard Smogon OU or the GBA Format. In my opinion, Hoopa-U gets even stronger in the counter team format because you know what your opponent can potentially bring so it allows you to bring the proper coverage moves – similar to Manaphy. What I’m trying to say is, it doesn’t matter that Hoopa-U is slow and frail, it gets a kill when granted a switch.
    In the “Team Synergy/Prep” section you mentioned how “almost every bug move will knock it out” and how by “having a fast sweeper with Signal Beam can force Hoopa to run a scarf.” However, this assumption is false. First off: 252 SpA Alakazam Signal Beam vs. 4 HP / 0 SpD Hoopa Unbound: 272-320 (90 – 105.9%) — 37.5% chance to OHKO, so no, not every bug move will knock out Hoopa-U, even from off base 135 SpA. Furthermore, just because you have an Alakazam or potential Scarf Jirachi, or any other fast pokemon with bug coverage, doesn’t mean Hoopa-U is forced to run a scarf. Just because you have 2-3 pokemon that outspeed and have 4x coverage doesn’t knock down the fact that Hoopa-U has not switch ins. If Hoopa-U comes in in the ways I mentioned before, it gets a kill. And before you say you can just bring in your Scarf Jirachi and revenge it, it doesn’t take away the fact that Hoopa-U already got a kill and can get more later since it can simply switch out. Bug is such a poor offensive typing so any Fire/Flying/Steel/Dragon or any pokemon that can take a non-STAB 70 Base Power coverage move can switch in and take the hit. Even though you might of got the momentum from a potential U-Turn, it’s outweighed by the fact that whenever Hoopa-U comes in, it gets a kill. In addition, you said “A strong steel type is ideal to shrug of bug and fairy type moves.” This isn’t hard, every playoff team had a steel type and fire types also take steel/fairy moves, which every playoff team also had. Steel/Fires aren’t hard to find and a successful team will have them. You also stated “and to kill fairies in return (unless one is willing to risk running Gunk Shot).” However, contrary to what you said, you don’t even need to risk Gunk Shot: 252+ SpA Choice Specs Hoopa Unbound Psyshock vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Clefable: 231-273 (58.6 – 69.2%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery. Lastly, in the “Team Synergy/Prep” section you said this: “Thunder Wave support is a must if Hoopa isn’t holding a choice scarf, as is Heal Bell support.” This also isn’t true, just appreciated. Hoopa-U doesn’t exactly need to outspeed Base 100s when it can kill everything slower when it comes in.
    Now in “Final Thoughts” you decided you wouldn’t want to ban Hoopa-U because of some reasons you stated. The first reason to you stated – it gets crushed by status, it irrelevant. Any player won’t let their Hoopa-U obtain a status by simply switching out. Next, you stated it’s too frail, but that point is also irrevelvant, it doesn’t matter if it has a 4x weakness to U-Turn if it’s 2HKOing all off your “walls”. Lastly, you stated some things you stated earlier that your thought were scarier, however, your are mathematically incorrect. Absolutely nothing switches into a Specs Hoopa-U that isn’t 2HKOd. However, for Victini and Mega Lopunny, you have pokemon that can like Suicune and Cresselia, two of the bulkiest pokemon allowed in the GBA which Hoopa-U easily 2HKOs even without worrying about clicking the coverage move, all it has to do is click STAB.
    Overall, Hoopa-U gets a kill whenever it comes in unless you are playing HO. However, a intelligent player will just punish it by bringing slow bulky pivots + Hoopa-U. There is absolutely nothing that beats a competent player with Hoopa-U. Verdict: Ban 100%

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  2. Are you kidding me? Yes its weak to bug, but first of all its spedef is insanely good, it usually takes a non stab signal beam. Secondly its speed doesnt matter: its a wallbreaker. You mentioned lando I and it is obvious you dont follow the OU meta well. Because the reason BOTH of them were banned, is because neither had a good switchin (in particular to specs hoopa and LO SF lando, but their unpredictability is what gave them the edge). You seem to have completely missed the point of this mon. It isny meant to take (physical) hits, its here to kill a mon and switch out. The only thing that works against a hoopa is a GOOD pursuit trapper. Because otherwise, the be next time its in vs your wall (which you might desperately need because of my other offensive threats) you have to literally sack a mon yet AGAIN. This is the sole reason it is broken. Low speed doesnt matter versus pretty much any wall. No, its not a sweeper, which is why you should rarely scarf it. A life orb or specs or banded works perfect.

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  3. I would just like to reiterate the points of Count and RJ. Hoopa’s use is a sweeper is very bad. This Pokemon is designed to break fat stuff, to pave the way for an actual sweeper to clean up afterwards.

    What makes Hoopa even more threatening in league play versus standard play is the Hoopa user can plan FOR the Hoopa switch in because teams are designed to probably pack only one (and I use “switch in” very loosely. The Hoopa user has the advantage to select LO, Specs, E-Belt, Band depending on what the opponent has. This makes team building very difficult because oftentimes you will lose a check to something else on the team just to get chip damage off on Hoopa. As Count mentioned, Hoopa is only defeated by Pursuit after Hyper Space Fury and very few pursuit trappers are REALLY good. This means Hoopa can usually snag 1-2 kills and break the defensive backbone of a team really well.

    In addition to what RJ said, Hoopa’s special bulk allows it to tank special hits and actually can check certain mons when at full health, when placed with slow volt turn, this pokemon can just decimate most teams. Oftentimes, the only way to counter it would be to run an offensive team where everything outspeeds it and can kill it

    But back to the Hoopa user, this gives the opponent only 2 consistent measures of counter play, running offense and running pursuit. Just an extreme advantage during team building that makes Hoopa pretty overwhelming in this format. I would extend this argument to Landorus-I, but that’s for another discussion in itself

    TLDR: Great Coverage means Great Hoopa set, Fat mons die, can’t kill w/o pursuit or running Offense

    Result: KEEP BANNED

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  4. As someone who has played competitive pokemon for quite sometime now, i know some things about this. Im not saying im like a Dan or Joey good, but i can tell when something needs to be checked out. Hoopa-U was something i wanted to test out as soon as i could on the ladder when it came out. I quickly realized there was absolutely nothing that didnt get 2KOed by this monster. At one point you said something about a HJK from mega Loppuny, of a V-Create from victini being scarier. And while those are very scary things, they dont 2KO everything. Here are some good examples:

    252+ SpA Life Orb Hoopa Unbound Focus Blast vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Registeel: 247-291 (67.8 – 79.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

    252+ SpA Life Orb Hoopa Unbound Thunderbolt vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Alomomola: 393-463 (73.5 – 86.7%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

    252+ SpA Life Orb Hoopa Unbound Focus Blast vs. 252 HP / 252+ SpD Filter Mega Aggron: 287-337 (83.4 – 97.9%) — guaranteed 2HKO

    -1 252+ Atk Life Orb Hoopa Unbound Ice Punch vs. 252 HP / 252+ Def Landorus-T: 286-338 (74.8 – 88.4%) — guaranteed 2HKO after Leftovers recovery

    These are all non-stab moves Hoopa-U gets access to, and all 4 of these pokemons that are taking these hits are know for swapping in on attacks, when in reality they cannot against this pokemon. Nothing can. Hyper Space Fury not only hits through protect, but its a stab base 100 dark type attack coming of a 160 attack stat. It also gets moves like Gunk Shot, Grass Knot, Elemental Punches, and even Drain Punch. When it comes down to league format, you know what 11 or 12 pokemon your opponent has. Between Dark, Psychic, Poison, Fire, Electric, Ice, FIghting, Grass, Bug, and Ghost type attacks, you can come up with 4 attacks that can almost garunteed hits at least 8 of the 11/12 pokemon super effectively. Not to mention, it can be ran AV, choiced, or even trick set up. Yes, you have that glaring x4 weakness to bug, but Hoopa-U isnt going to be your only pokemon. Pair it up with Mega Aggron and see how that team does.

    Going back to the topic of items, Hoopa-U is honestly one of the most diverse in items it can use. Weakness Policy is an option, due to hoopa-u having a base 130 special defense stat. Assault Vest can make this special defense even higher. The options of Roseli Berry or Tanga Berry can easily make it where Hoopa unexpectedly lives a hit, then kills what was one of the checks there opponent brought. While choice scarf is nice, it is not necessary like you stated. Life orb is a much better option, as you can swap up your moves and you have the option to be mixed. Expert belt can hide the fact that you are not choiced but still hit extremely hard.

    To finish up this response, i think you underestimate Hoopa-U. Just because something has a x4 weakness does not make it bad. We have pokemon like Garchomp, Salamence, Scizor, Heracross, Ferrothorn, Swampert, etc. get used all the time. The only difference is, they dont have a base 160 and 170 attack and special attack with one of the best movepools in the game.

    RESULT: Banned

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