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What makes Empoleon good for sub-agility but not other Pokemon?

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There are probably other Pokemon that can learn substitute and agility/rock polish, are bulky, and can hold a liechi berry or a petaya berry, so why Empoleon?

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Because most other Pokemon that have sub and agility have either other boosting moves (like Landorus or terrakion) that it makes better use of or can't afford to lose the HP because it can't heal like MegaMetagross
Are you saying that Empoleon can heal?
It can hold Leftovers. M-Metagross can't.
But it has to hold a petaya berry for the strategy to work.

1 Answer

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Best answer

Gonna answer it myself. Why few other Pokemon use sub and agility? Well, because there's no need for them too.

Let's list some Pokemon for some examples, then I'll explain the general theme.

For use in OU and UU (the highest tier with a banlist and the tier with Empoleon in it), I count maybe 20-24 arguably viable Pokemon. Here are the noteworthy ones.

(Mega) Beedrill: Doesn't run because it's very fast already, and needs what coverage it gets. It also makes good use of U-Turn which counteracts speed boosts.

(Mega) Pidgeot: Already fast and doesn't need a speed boost. Also needs what little coverage and STABs it gets.

Arcanine: Has awesome coverage including healing moves and extreme speed. It really doesn't need a sub or a boost because you just send it in and spam flare blitz 80% of the time anyway. I.e it's redundant.

(Mega) Aerodactyl: Extremely fast and has multiple sets it can run normally that cover many bases. Agility set is pretty redundant.

Zapdos: Although some Zapdos do actually run Agility, it's rare and almost never simultaneously with Sub due to it needing coverage/healing to be used effectively afterwards. Plus most are defensive anyway now. I.e either doesn't fit or redundant.

Dragonite: Has access to Dragon Dance and Multiscale, completely outclassing Sub+Agility.

(Mega) Scizor: Best move is arguably Bullet Punch, which makes Agility redundant. Also has great coverage and support moves it doesn't want to give up.

(Mega)Metagross: Already has 4MSS, taking two of those away makes it extremely hard to break past important threats.

There are more you can look up with the moveset calculator, but you get the jist.

1.) Pokemon are either reliant on their coverage moves to function adequately against common or important threats to give up two moves or possibly even lose their niche. They may have to use certain moves or tactics in order to actually stay viable. 2.) Pokemon have other sets that simply outclass the Agility set, making the set arguably worse or again sacrificing the whole point of using the Pokemon. 3.) The Pokemon is generally unviable in the current climate, with the set impacting their ability to fight common threats or the Pokemon is simply not as usable. 4.) The Pokemon in viable but either needs significant support or entire teams based around it, making them more trouble than it's worth.

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Does that mean Empoleon's sub-agility set is actually not viable? I'm pretty sure Empoleon benefits a lot from coverage moves.
Empoleon's is viable because it doesn't need it's coverage to function. it WANTS coverage, everything does, but it doesn't need it. It isn't being hardwalled by half the meta if it doesn't pick up an extra move. It also doesn't get any other good boosting moves besides Swords Dance, meaning it's just Physical Versus Special. The existence of SD doesn't make Sub Agility irrelevant because they do very different things. You could say that for a  few of these examples, but then they'd clash with the other points anyway (like Arcanine has enough SpAtk to justify it but doesn't purely because it's main set is just outright better).