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Title explains it well. Has Zen Mode ever had a niche over Sheer Force/Gorilla Tactics at any point in competitive? This includes battle facilities and in-game VGC and ranked battles.

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Unovan Zen Mode is literally always worse than Unovan Sheer Force. I'm pretty sure Galar Zen Mode is actually decent, and Smogon even gives it a sample set in Gen 8 Ubers.
Zen Galarian Darmanitan is pretty useful in BH, but that uses fur coat instead of zen mode. Also you'll probably get a better answer if you ask here: https://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/smogon-simple-questions-suggestions-thread.3582200/

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Best answer

Unovan Darmanitan is always using sheer force in every single smogon recommended set.

These are:

Gen 5 UU
Gen 5 OU
VGC12
VGC11
DW OU
Gen 6 UU
Gen 6 Monotype
Gen 7 UU
Gen 7 1v1
Gen 8 RU
Gen 8 1v1

So, unovan zen mode darmanitan...kinda sucks.

Galarian Zen mode Darmanitan actually has SOMETHING.

These are the formats where it is actually used

Gen 8 Ubers
Gen 8 1v1
Gen 8 BH

So, overall, the zen mode gang is not very good, however, galarian zen mode darm has a smol niche in two formats, and unovan in one.

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edited by
Well, it appears zen mode totally sucks. Thanks!
Are you going to count gen 8 BH?
Shame, I've enjoyed the concept of the ability but in practice it just sucks.
But I think galarian zen mode is much better than its other abilities
Gorilla tactics is a free choice band, which is pretty great, especially considering that it can hold another item.
@sumwun, I didn't see a recommended set for BH, so I didn't add that, but it is B- on the VR, so I'll make sure to add that.