This article will get you familiarized with the various walls and sweepers in OU and UU. Once understood, you will be prepared for many various threats in the metagame and how they will, most often, be used. Finally, you will learn the various movesets of Pokemon commonly used as walls and sweepers. Also, this articles shows the characteristics of walls and sweepers, which can be key when deciding on some for your team. Learning about these Pokemon is great for newer players looking to find competitively viable Pokemon to try out on a team.
Sweepers are Pokemon that attempt to KO as many of the opponent's Pokemon as possible through the use of direct damage. Generally, they are used in conjunction with Pokemon that remove their counters and Pokemon that lay hazards to allow for easier sweeping. Attributes of common sweepers include high Speed as well as a high stat in Attack or Special Attack. Exceptions include Trick Room, where sweepers attempt to have the lowest possible Speed stat, and priority sweepers, whose moves go first unless the opponent also carries priority moves.
Mixed sweepers use a combination of physical and special moves, (these Pokemon have decent Attack and Special Attack stats), to help defeat walls and break through counters. Boosting sweepers, a common variant, utilize stat-boosting moves such as Swords Dance and Calm Mind to increase their offensive stats and help or start a sweep. Bulky sweepers generally employ boosting tactics as well, and use their good defensive prowess in conjunction with their solid Attack or Special Attack stats to tank hits while setting up.
When using a sweeper, do not attempt to sweep until all the opposing Pokemon can be defeated without your Pokemon getting KOed, or receiving a crippling status. An exception is when you use a sweeper to weaken counters to another sweeper to open a sweep for the other Pokemon. Many times, sweepers act as other roles such as scouts, and sometimes just hammer the Pokemon the opponent is switching in with a move that weakens them.
A common strategy with boosting sweepers is obtaining free switches. This allows the Pokemon in question to use a stat-boosting move without being crippled. For example, you know that your opponent has a Choice Band Haxorus, and a weakened Skarmory with Whirlwind among their Pokemon. You want to attempt a sweep with Dragonite, but it's only possible if you obtain a Dragon Dance. Haxorus will KO with Outrage if you try to set up on it, and Skarmory will phaze with Whirlwind, so you need a free turn so that Dragonite can set up.
First, you switch in your Rotom-W on Skarmory, and threaten to KO it. The opponent can't switch in Haxorus either, in fear of a burn from Will-O-Wisp. The opponent sends out a Virizion to beat Rotom-W, but then Rotom-W uses Volt Switch. This allows you to switch to another Pokemon during that turn, and Dragonite is brought in. Virizion can't beat Dragonite, so the opponent switches to Haxorus while Dragonite uses Dragon Dance. The free switch allowed Dragonite to set up, and KO Skarmory with Fire Punch, and outspeed Haxorus and KO it with Dragon Claw.
Many sweepers both appreciate having entry hazards removed from their side of the field, along with hazards placed on the opponent's side. Unfortunately, offensive teams lose a lot of momentum when using Pokemon to set up hazards or Rapid Spin them away, because the opponent can use this time to set up. One solution to this is to use Pokemon that pose an offensive threat while performing other roles. Great examples include Starmie for using Rapid Spin, and Deoxys-S for laying hazards.
This Scizor is a bulky sweeper that uses Swords Dance to boost its Attack to high levels. The HP and Special Defense investment allow it to take common special attacks with ease to set up on Pokemon like Choice Scarf Latios. Bullet Punch gives Scizor useful priority to make up for its low speed, and Bug Bite gives excellent STAB coverage and abuses Technician.
Excadrill has very high Attack and obscene Speed in Sandstorm. Combined with a Life Orb and Swords Dance, it 2HKOs every Pokemon in OU with the exception of Skarmory, Bronzong and some Pokemon holding an Air Balloon. It gets great coverage with Earthquake and Rock Slide, and Return does exceptional damage to Pokemon like Celebi and Gliscor.
Conkeldurr has an exceptional Attack stat, and great bulk to obtain numerous Bulk Up boosts. Mach Punch bypasses its poor Speed, while Drain Punch lets it recover health while dealing a lot of damage. Payback hits the Ghost-type Pokemon that its other moves can't and gives Conkeldurr the coverage it needs to eliminate foes.
Landorus @ Life Orb
Trait: Sand Force
EVs:252 Atk / 4 SAtk / 252 Spe
-Hidden Power [Ice]
Landorus has an amazing Attack stat, and an excellent ability to boost it. Nonetheless, it's still walled by Gliscor. Hidden Power [Ice] remedies this problem, and easily KOs Gliscor with a Life Orb. Despite it being a special move, Landorus is a physical sweeper as Hidden Power [Ice] is just a specific move to take care of a threat. Rock Polish lets it outspeed the metagame, including Excadrill, and has excellent unboosted power. Earthquake and Stone Edge reach respective base powers of 253 and 169 when factoring STAB, Life Orb, and Sand Force, so despite the lack of Swords Dance, Landorus packs quite a punch.
Haxorus hits extraordinarily hard after a Dragon Dance and outspeeds all unboosted Dragon-type Pokemon in OU. Earthquake has great coverage and hits Bronzong hard thanks to Mold Breaker. This ability also lets Haxorus hit through Dragonite's Multiscale. Brick Break hits Skarmory and Ferrothorn for decent damage, KOing the latter after a few boosts. Haxorus has one of the highest Attack stats in the game and it can easily sweep with a bit of support.
Terrakion has decent bulk, and can easily boost its Attack and Speed to sky-high levels. It gains great coverage in just two moves with its STAB Stone Edge and Close Combat. This boosting sweeper can increase a specific stat based on what it needs. When facing fast, offensive teams, Rock Polish lets it outspeed and eliminate quick threats. Against bulky or stall teams, Swords Dance gives Terrakion the extreme power to break down those Pokemon.
Scrafty has good natural bulk to easily set up a few Dragon Dances and heal off damage and Life Orb recoil with Drain Punch. Crunch takes out Jellicent and other Ghost- and Psychic-type Pokemon. Ice Punch is mostly for Gliscor, but also hits other Flying-type Pokemon hard. Shed Skin is good for a decent chance to eliminate crippling burn or paralysis status from Scrafty.
If you can switch Heracross in on a Burning or Poisoning move, your opponent is in for a world of pain. Heracross' great dual STABs and high Attack let it power through most Pokemon. In addition, a Choice Scarf remedies its mediocre speed for easier sweeping. Night Slash is mainly filler, but lets it hit some Ghosts hard with perfect accuracy.
Arcanine @ Life Orb
Trait: Flash Fire
EVs: 72 HP / 252 Atk / 184 Spe
Arcanine has very powerful moves in Close Combat and Flare Blitz and can easily heal off recoil from Life Orb and Flare Blitz with Morning Sun. Extremespeed is a useful priority attack against faster Pokemon. Flash Fire lets Arcanine absorb the many Fire-type attacks in UU.
Victini @ Choice Band
Trait: Victory Star
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk/ 252 Spe
Victini carries immense power with V-Create, one-shotting many Pokemon who resist it. Fusion Bolt and Brick Break give it awesome coverage. While U-Turn lets Victini scout for counters. Max Speed and a Jolly nature let it tie with other positive natures base 100 Speed Pokemon like Shaymin. Since Victini is going to be switching a lot due to V-Create, a Choice Band is the best item.
Rhyperior @ Life Orb
Trait: Solid Rock
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Stone Edge and Earthquake give Rhyperior near-unstoppable STAB coverage, while Megahorn adds super-effective coverage on Pokemon like Celebi and Shaymin. Rock Polish fixes Rhyperiors poor Speed, and lets its base 140 Attack sweep the opposing team. Its amazing bulk easily lets it set up, and take Life Orb recoil many times afterwards.
Cobalion has good coverage, and an excellent STAB move in Close Combat. It's less-than-stellar Attack is easily boosted with Swords Dance, courtesy of Cobalion's nice bulk. Leftovers allow Cobalion to set up more easily and tank a couple hits from fast Pokemon.
Latios can repeatedly hammer Pokemon with a powerful Draco Meteor, and then switch out and come back for more later. It uses Psyshock to nail common specially bulky counters such as Blissey, and Surf for general coverage. Recover lets Latios regain health from repeatedly switching in and taking hits in general.
Thundurus @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spe
-Hidden Power [Ice]
Thundurus has completely perfect coverage of the metagame, and amazing Special Attack and Speed to make use of it. Nasty Plot boosts its Special Attack to monstrous levels, and all that hold Thundurus back from sweeping everything are faster Pokemon and Focus Blast's shaky accuracy.
Reuniclus is a great sweeper against stall teams, because it takes no damage from entry hazards or status effects. This set is completely focused on bulk, and Reuniclus only sweeps after obtaining numerous boosts from Calm Mind. It's great HP allows it to set up on many Pokemon, and Psyshock lets it hit special walls on their weaker stat. In addition, Leftovers are guaranteed to recover Reuniclus as Magic Guard blocks residual damage.
Volcarona @ Lum Berry
Trait: Flame Body
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spe
-Hidden Power [Rock]
Volcarona has an amazing boosting move in Quiver Dance, which is the equivalent of a Calm Mind boost and a Speed boost. In addition, Fiery Dance deals damage and can raise Special Attack. Hidden Power gives it great coverage, Heatran being the only Pokemon that can wall it. The only problem Volcarona faces is its crippling weakness to Stealth Rock, which can be fixed with a Rapid Spinner. A Lum Berry gives it an extra turn against Paralysis or Poison.
Virizion @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spe
-Hidden Power [Ice]
Virizion gets amazing coverage, and also can set up on many special and physical attacks by virtue of its typing and good Defense and Special Defense. After a few Calm Mind boosts, Virizion is nearly invulnerable to the numerous Water- and Electric-type attacks in the metagame. Giga Drain easily heals off the damage from Life Orb, allowing for a longer sweep.
Latias @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 4 SAtk / 252 Spe
-Hidden Power [Fire]
Latias can use its impressive bulk to set up on threats like Heatran and unboosted Thundurus. Dragon Pulse and Hidden Power [Fire] have nice coverage, and hit most of the metagame for neutral or better damage. Recover lets Latias repeatedly Calm Mind until it can KO even Jirachi and easily take Draco Meteors.
Common Special Sweepers in UU
Zapdos @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Soe
-Hidden Power [Ice]
Zapdos gets good coverage with its three moves, and its STAB Thunderbolt hits very hard. Heat Wave eliminates Steel and Grass types, while HP Ice complements Thunderbolt perfectly and hits Gligar and Flygon hard. A Life Orb adds a decent punch to Zapdos's Attacks. What's unique about Zapdos, is that instead of boosting, it uses its bulk and good damage output to hit hard quickly and repeatedly.
Nidoking @ Life Orb
Trait: Sheer Force
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 SPe
Nidoking has impeccable coverage, and this is compounded with great power from Sheer Force, which also negates Life Orb recoil. These stack up to give Nidoking a free 1.69x boost to its attacks at no cost. Sludge Wave is a mediocre STAB, but it is more than made up for by Earth Power, Thunderbolt, and Ice Beam. All that can truly stop Nidoking are faster Pokemon, and the most powerful Special wall, Chansey.
Celebi @ Life Orb
Trait: Natural Cure
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spe
Celebi is so strong at +2, that just Psychic and Earth Power clean up most of the UU metagame. Giga Drain provides recovery and also KOs a lot of Pokemon. Even Chansey can't stand up to Celebi after a few Nasty Plots. Faster Pokemon are the main issue for this set, but Celebi's natural bulk lets it take quite a few hits even without defensive investment.
Azelf reaches astonishing power with Nasty Plot and a Life Orb, and its excellent Speed lets it put that power to use. Psyshock 2HKOs Chansey after a turn of set up, while Fire Blast hits the Steel and Psychic type Pokemon that wall Psyshock. Thunderbolt hits bulky Water Pokemon hard, and also hits Pokemon like Victini that resist both of the other moves.
Raikou @ Life Orb
EVs: 4 HP / 252 SAtk / 252 Spe
-Hidden Power [Ice]
Thunderbolt and Hidden Power [Ice] gives Raikou near-perfect coverage, which then becomes perfect with the much-coveted Aura Sphere. This move is only available with a Rash nature, (because the only way Raikou can obtain Aura Sphere is through a Nintendo event), but it is worth it for hitting Chansey, Registeel, and Snorlax. Raikou has good natural bulk to set up a few Calm Minds, and its excellent Speed lets it sweep even without a positive nature in Speed.
Dragonite has a plethora of moves to use, and good stats on both sides of the offensive spectrum. Draco Meteor is great to abuse, because Dragonite can still be powerful after a drop in Special Attack, as well as a drop in Attack when using Superpower. Fire Blast provides great coverage against Pokemon like Skarmory, and Extremespeed finishes off faster Pokemon to make up for Dragonite's low Speed.
Infernape has excellent Speed and offensive stats. Nasty Plot lets its special attacks do large amounts of damage, while Close Combat does a lot of damage to Blissey, Chansey, and is a great physical STAB. Grass Knot gives excellent coverage against Vaporeon and Jellicent.
Salamence nets a lot of KOs with its powerful Draco Meteor against physically defensive Pokemon expecting to check physical variants. Its Outrage and Earthquake have great coverage as well as dealing huge amounts of damage. Fire Blast hits Pokemon like Skarmory and Ferrothorn who could wall a potential sweep. A Lum Berry lets Salamence recover after Outrage, and also is insurance against Burn or Paralysis.
Kingdra is a potent physical attacker, but sometimes its attacks don't have the power to break through defensive Pokemon like Hitmontop. Hydro Pump remedies this, because it's a very strong special attack that can KO the likes of Donphan and Arcanine. Outrage and Waterfall are customary STAB attacks, and obtain boosts from Dragon Dance for a sweep.
Electivire @ Life Orb
Trait: Motor Drive
EVs: 252 SAtk / 40 Atk / 216 Spe
-Hidden Power [Ice]
Electivire has unprecedented coverage to make up for its stats, however, it isn't nearly as effective unless it gains a Motor Drive boost. Wild Charge and Cross Chop hit bulky waters and Chansey on their weaker defensive side, while Flamethrower and Hidden Power[Ice] do the same to Cobalion and Flygon. Electivire has only modest stats, but its coverage lets it score super-effective hits on many Pokemon.
Walls are Pokemon that take minimal damage from the Pokemon they "wall", or counter. They often rely on passive damage and phazing with hazards to wear down enemies, but sometimes use direct damage to eliminate frailer sweepers. Walls rely on good defensive stats and good typing to resist different types of attacks. Generally, walls are used on defensive or stall teams, but sometimes they are used to counter specific threats on offensive teams.
Walls force switches not due to offensive presence, obviously, but by countering the other Pokemon and threatening to slowly wear them down or set up entry hazards. Walls require team support, sometimes even more than offensive Pokemon, because to effectively wall, they need a partner or multiple partners to take care of Pokemon that can beat said wall. Another issue for many walls is the move "Taunt". This prevents them from using indirect moves, thereby reducing their effectiveness to a weak offensive Pokemon.
Despite some setbacks, walls are extremely useful, and can easily rid a team of a weakness. Walls are divided along both sides of the defensive spectrum, but many common walls are mixed walls that rely on resistances to counter threats.
Gliscor uses its valuable resistance to the common Fighting-type attacks in the 5th generation to effectively wall many threats. Protect combined with Poison Heal results in huge amounts of recovery, while Earthquake and Ice Fang hit threats like opposing Gliscor and Excadrill. A Toxic Orb in conjunction with Protect guarantees Poison Heal will activate, and also keep Gliscor safe from status.
Despite Skarmory being unable to take Fighting-type attacks as well as Gliscor, it has the niche advantages of being able to set up Spikes, and take the common Hidden Power [Ice] from Pokemon like Landorus and Swords Dance Virizion. Skarmory can also phaze Pokemon with Whirlwind, and rack up Spikes damage. Roost gives Skarmory reliable recovery, while Shed Shell lets it escape Magnezone and Wobbuffet.
Gyarados has impressive physical bulk when combined with Intimidate. It also has a useful phazing option in Dragon Tail. Its lack of reliable recover is disappointing, but a RestTalk set lets it absorb status for a defensive team. Gyarados resists the common Fighting-type moves, and also has a decent attacking option in Waterfall. It's weakness to Stealth Rock is one of its few downsides, but it proves to be an excellent counter to Conkeldurr, Scizor, and Infernape lacking Hidden Power [Electric].
Hippowdon @ Leftovers
Trait: Sand Stream
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SDef
Hippowdon has immense physical bulk, and can take advantage of it by supporting with Stealth Rock and phazing Pokemon like Conkeldurr and Scrafty. Ice Fang is mainly for popping Air Balloons and hitting Dragon-types and Gliscor. Earthquake takes out Excadrill and hits moderately hard off of Hippowdon's good base 112 Attack. Hippowdon's Sand Stream has merit on stall and Sandstorm teams, and the residual damage helps it wall Pokemon.
Donphan is both exceptionally bulky on the physical side, and a great team supporter. Rapid Spin and Stealth Rock remove hazards from your team while placing them on the opponent's team. Roar is useful phazing, and can accumulate Stealth Rock damage and prevent physical sweepers from setting up.
Slowbro boasts impressive Defense, and also a good Special Attack stat to hit back. Toxic slowly wears down enemies, and Slack Off provides instant recovery. Psychic hits Fighting-type Pokemon like Hitmontop, and Surf is a generally good STAB move. Regenerator allows Slowbro to regain a third of its health every time it switches out, so Spikes and Stealth Rock aren't an issue.
Tangrowth also possesses Regenerator, so it can easily check physical Pokemon repeatedly. Its bulk is stupendous, while its Giga Drain still poses a threat to Ground, Rock, and Water Pokemon. Synthesis recovers health moderately reliably, and Hidden Power [Ice] hits Dragon- and Grass-type Pokemon. Sleep Powder is great for incapacitating a potent threat.
Blissey has such enormous HP and Special Defense that without any EVs in Special Defense it can easily wall any special attacks other than boosted Focus Blasts and Aura Spheres. Wish and Protect support the team, while giving Blissey recovery to wall opponents. Toxic slowly wears your opponent's Pokemon down, while Seismic Toss is Blissey's best attacking option, doing 100 damage to Pokemon that aren't Ghost-type. Blissey's great stats ensure its monopoly on pure special walling.
Jirachi @ Leftovers
Trait: Serene Grace
EVs: 252 HP / 224 SDef / 32 Spe
Jirachi also provides useful Wish support, and is excellent at sponging the numerous Draco Meteors of the metagame. Jirachi is a great counter to many special attackers, and its Body Slam can easily cripple them with paralysis. Iron Head takes advantage of this, leaving the opponent with a small chance to attack with the chance of flinch and full paralysis. Protect makes Wish reliable recovery for Jirachi.
Chansey is almost a mixed wall due to the huge boost from Eviolite, however its gargantuan Special Defense and HP let it easily wall any special move in UU. Softboiled gives instant recovery to easily outstall special attackers with Toxic and Seismic Toss. Arometherapy supports teams by relieving status problems. Chansey has good physical bulk as well, and can easily take a weaker physical move from a specially-based mixed attacker.
Snorlax's fantastic HP and good Special Defense easily let it wall common attackers in UU like Celebi and Zapdos. Whirlwind easily phazes these Pokemon and prevents set up, while Body Slam provides paralysis to support slower-paced teams. Rest is Snorlax's only form of recovery, so it's combined with Sleep Talk to keep Snorlax useful while it is snoring.
Ferrothorn breaks through the stereotype of Steel-type Pokemon being focused on physical defenses. Its excellent mixed stats let it take the common Water- and Electric-type attacks on the metagame with ease, while even taking Fire-type attacks in the Rain. Spikes supports any team, and Leech Seed adds to the indirect damage on foes. Gyro Ball and Power Whip hit hard even without investment, and can hurt Pokemon like Thundurus and Rotom-W.
Jellient has magnificent Special Defense, and its ability lets it recover health from Water-type attacks. However, when combined with Will-O-Wisp and an investment in defense, Jellicent is easily capable of walling Scizor, Toxicroak, and other physical attackers. Taunt prevents Pokemon from setting up on Jellicent, while Scald has the useful effect of burning Pokemon that switch in.
Bronzong @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 84 Atk / 80 Def / 92 SDef
-Hidden Power [Ice]
Bronzong is one of the best tanks in the game, easily taking Outrages and Earthquakes, while boasting the ability to wall Excadrill and Landorus. Rather than whittle down Pokemon, Bronzong easily takes their attacks, and hits hard with Gyro Ball. Bronzong eliminates Excadrill with Earthquake, and beats Landorus and Gliscor with Hidden Power [Ice]. Stealth Rock is useful support as always.
Porygon2 may have a shallow movepool, but BoltBeam coverage combined with Toxic and Recover is just enough for it to take advantage of great defensive stats. Eviolite multiplies its defenses by 1.5, giving it huge defenses to take Draco Meteors and Outrages alike. Porygon2 has good Special Attack, so foes can't simply set up on it without taking damage. Instant recovery and Toxic let it whittle down opponents with ease. Also, Trace lets it wall Pokemon like Heatran and Jellicent, snagging their Abilities as well.
Common Mixed Walls in UU
Registeel @ Leftovers
Trait: Clear Body
EVs: 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SDef
Registeel doesn't have viable recovery, but with Wish support it can easily wall many Pokemon in UU. It's Steel-typing gives it useful resistances, especially against Dragon and Bug moves. Toxic wears down bulky Pokemon, while Iron Head and Seismic Toss hit frailer Pokemon. Stealth Rock is a great supporting move for teams.
Deoxys-D has the unique aspect of being able to stall out defensive and offensive threats with Pressure and its decent speed. Toxic breaks down Pokemon not immune to it, while Seismic Toss hits those who are, and breaks Substitutes. Recover is the always welcome instant recovery move. Taunt is a way to prevent status being inflicted on Deoxys by other Pokemon, and also prevents set-up.
Dusclops has incredible defenses with an Eviolite, and can easily cripple physical attacks with a Burn. Toxic is useful against Pokemon like Milotic and Chansey. Pain Split is Dusclops's best means of recovery, and it works well with its low HP. Night Shade deals consistent damage to foes, as Dusclops has poor offenses.
Milotic activates its Marvel Scale ability while asleep, giving it great Defense to back up its already strong Special Defense. Scald cripples opposing physical sweepers with a burn, while also providing residual damage. Milotic is best used with entry hazards, as Dragon Tail phazes Pokemon causing them to repeatedly take damage.
Sweepers and walls are the most common roles seen in Pokemon. Supporting Pokemon let sweepers easily defeat an opposing team, and let walls break down offensive cores. However, sweepers and walls are very important, and using them to their best extent will give you an advantage over any opponent who doesn't. Though this article details many Pokemon, it is not even close to an exhaustive list, and there are many viable Pokemon that can make surprising, and useful walls and sweepers.