All posts by bhahn

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.


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.


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.


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]