Poké Monday 12/29: Sandslash

RNG 

Smogon official tier: NU
Type: Ground
Base Stats: 75 HP, 100 Atk, 110 Def, 45 Sp.Atk, 55 Sp.Def, 65 Speed
Abilities: Sand Veil, Sand Rush (HA)

Usable moves: Aerial Ace, Body Slam, Brick Break, Counter, Double-Edge, Earth Power, Earthquake, Façade, Flail, Focus Blast, Focus Punch, Frustration, Gyro Ball, Hidden Power (Electric, Fighting, Fire, Grass, Ice), Hone Claws, Iron Tail, Knock Off, Night Slash, Poison Jab, Protect, Rapid Spin, Rest, Return, Rock Slide, Seismic Toss, Shadow Claw, Sleep Talk, Stealth Rock, Stone Edge, Substitute, Sunny Day, Super Fang, Swords Dance, Toxic, X-Scissor

Overview

There are 7 NU Pokémon with the move Rapid Spin: Armaldo, Avalugg, Cryogonal, Delibird, Kabutops, Spinda, and Sandslash. Of these seven, Sandslash is the only one resistant to Stealth Rock. Even though Defog seems to be more common than Rapid Spin for removing hazards, there are two main problems with Defog: 1) it removes hazards from both sides of the field, and 2) it is mostly limited to Flying-types, which take no less than neutral damage from Stealth Rock. I mean, one Defogger that is notable due to its typing is Vibrava, but its stats (50/70/50/50/50/70) just don’t look like they can accomplish much, and given that Knock Off is so prominent, having Eviolite will not always be a given.

Anyway, Sandslash is a Rapid Spin user with arguably better typing than any other NU spinner. Its stats make it more of a physical wall/tank than anything, so try to keep it away from special attackers.

Set

Sandslash @ Leftovers
Ability: Sand Rush
EVs: 248 HP / 8 Atk / 252 Def
Impish Nature
– Stealth Rock
– Rapid Spin
– Knock Off
– Earthquake

The 248 is just to toy with residual effects; it has no real rhyme or reason. Sand Rush is there because double Speed (even if it’s just 166 => 332) is more useful than a 20% evasion boost (and sand is not all that common, what with Hippopotas being the only real setter, so it doesn’t matter too much). Stealth Rock is another neat little toy that Sandslash possesses, making it a dual-purpose hazard setter and spinner, in a similar manner to what Forretress does in higher tiers. Rapid Spin, as implicitly mentioned before, is the most cost-free way to remove hazards, and Sandslash’s good bulk and typing make it a great user thereof. Knock Off…if you’re into competitive 6th gen, chances are you’re familiar with Knock Off. It gets great coverage with its STAB Earthquake.

Other Options

Sandslash can run Toxic over Stealth Rock if you already have a better hazard setter and/or to get by walls that can take its Knock Offs and Earthquakes comfortably (namely, bulky waters). It can also be used for Sand Rush offense alongside Stoutland but, again, Hippopotas is the only real sand setter. People also run Stone Edge (over Stealth Rock/Toxic), although I don’t see why; Flying-types that could potentially switch in on a predicted Earthquake would not appreciate a Knock Off (unless they have no item) or Toxic, and some take pitiful damage from Stone Edge—for instance:

4 Atk Sandslash Stone Edge vs. 248 HP / 252+ Def Pelipper: 104-124 (32.1 – 38.3%) — guaranteed 3HKO after Stealth Rock and Leftovers recovery

That seems to be all the viable options, although Super Fang and Seismic Toss seem like interesting anti-wall options to me (although note that Seismic Toss is incompatible with Sand Rush because the former is a 3rd gen tutor move).

Sample Team

http://pastebin.com/g4fTTeTL (warning: this team is missing speed/priority)

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