Sandslash

Sandslash, The Mouse Pokémon. Although they are sharp, its claws and spikes often break off. They grow back the next day, so it is not bothered by the temporary loss. It uses its claws to climb trees and then curls its body into a spiny ball, ready to drop onto any prey that appears.

Overview

While it's not currently available, you can't talk about Sandslash without including its classic Kanto variant. It may be a face that both old and new fans will recognize, but Sandslash is unfortunately far from the most impressive Ground-type out there. Ever since Gen 1, Sandslash has always had to deal with rough competition in the form of Rhydon and Golem, and that competition only got tougher as the years went by and more threats appeared. Sandslash might not have the misfortune of being a slow Ice-type like its Alolan variant, but being a slow Ground-type with no recovery and disappointing Special Defense isn't much better. Sandslash still doesn't have that great of an Attack stat either, so nothing about it is particularly outstanding. Sandslash does at least have utility in Rapid Spin and a useful ability in Sand Rush to attempt to alleviate its bad Speed, but if you're looking for something to add to your competitive team, you may want to look elsewhere before trying out Sandslash. They say that skill comes with experience, but for all the time Sandslash has been around it certainly hasn't gained much of that unfortunately.
Positives
+ Ground is a great offensive typing, and Sandslash has enough of a movepool to back it up with Stone Edge and access to Knock Off via ORAS tutors.
+ Access to Rapid Spin gives Sandslash unique utility as a hazard remover with the ability to threaten spinblockers.
+ Sandslash might not have any particularly impressive stats, but its Attack and Defense at least hit acceptable levels.
+ This Sandslash variant avoids the association with the name Coldsteel and is instead just a Sandslash.

Negatives
- Sandslash has very disappointing stats basically everywhere, with horrid Special Defense and Speed and an HP stat that's average at best. Its Attack and Defense stats, while workable, are also nothing to write home about.
- Even as a Rapid Spinner, Sandslash finds itself very outclassed, and by the time it becomes available it'll be competing with everything else that also becomes available with it.
- This classic Sandslash is unfortunately not obtainable before Bank, needless to say that's a pretty big negative right now.

Abilities

Sand Veil: Raises the Pokémon's evasion during a sandstorm by one level. This is an amusing ability when it works, but typically not reliable enough to abuse it. It also completely relies on Sandstorm which hurts its reliability further.
Hidden Ability: (Available through transfer)
Sand Rush: Speed is doubled within a sandstorm. While this is also weather-reliant, this is at least a consistent boost. Sandslash is rather slow normally, so being able to double its speed at all is very useful.

Movesets

Sandy Barrens

- Earthquake
- Stone Edge
- Knock Off
- Rapid Spin / Swords Dance
Item Attached: Groundium Z / Life Orb
Ability: Sand Rush
EVs and Nature:
252 Att / 4 SpD / 252 Spe Jolly / Adamant Nature

Sandslash shouldn't try to deviate too much from this set. Earthquake is a mandatory move on any Kanto Sandslash, especially with its very average Attack stat. Stone Edge allows Sandslash to hit Flying-types that otherwise can switch into Earthquake freely, and provides great neutral coverage alongside Earthquake. Knock Off provides crazy utility in the ability to remove a foe's item and further complement's Sandslash's coverage in order to hit Claydol, a fellow rival Rapid Spinner that otherwise walls Sandslash without fear. Rapid Spin allows Sandslash to function as a hazard remover, though if this isn't necessary then Swords Dance is recommended to boost its otherwise unimpressive Attack stat.

Maximum Attack and Speed investment are necessary to ensure Sandslash can actually hurt something, while Jolly is preferred to ensure that it outspeeds as much as possible under Sandstorm. Sand Rush is necessary for it to actually outspeed foes, but this naturally requires some form of weather support to work. Adamant nature is also fine if the extra power is desired, though the Speed drop is rather significant. Life Orb should be used with Swords Dance to maximize damage output, but Groundium Z gives Sandslash a one-time nuke that isn't weakened under Grassy Terrain.

Other Options

- Poison Jab can be used to hit Fairy-types, notably Tapu Bulu, which annoyingly messes with Earthquake's damage output thanks to Grassy Terrain.
- Toxic can be used to hit defensive threats as they switch in, which is particularly useful since Sandslash usually isn't strong enough to break bulkier foes by itself.
- Soft Sand prevents you from taking annoying recoil damage when using Rapid Spin while still booting Earthquake's power, which is nice when you can't fit Groundium Z into your team.

Countering Sandslash

If you haven't already figured by now, Sandslash is not too difficult to take down. Given its terrible Special Defense, any strong Special Attacker with realistic Speed will make quick work of Sandslash. Bulky Water-types such as Slowbro, Tapu Fini, and many others that become available through transfer can threaten Sandslash even without significant investment. Pelipper and Politoed meanwhile can not only remove Sandstorm support that Sandslash may have, but also threaten it further with their rain-boosted Water-type moves. Grass-types such as Tapu Bulu also resist Earthquake and aren't weak to any of its common moves unless it runs Poison Jab, making them effective answers to Sandslash. Ice types moves are also common coverage especially for Electric-types, even if it's only Hidden Power Ice, so with some prior damage even strong Electric-types can threaten Sandslash. Under the right circumstances Sandslash can certainly be threatening, but for the most part you shouldn't have trouble dealing with it. 20 years of experience certainly hasn't done Sandslash many favors in the power department.

Alolan Corner

Sandslash, The Mouse Pokémon. Fleeing a volcanic eruption, it settled on a snowy mountain. As it races through the snowfields, it sends up a spray of snow. This Pokémon’s steel spikes are sheathed in ice. Stabs from these spikes cause deep wounds and severe frostbite as well.

Overview

While a Mega Evolution may have been what people would have preferred Sandslash get, it does get an Alolan Form and the Alolan Form is a bit more usable than its standard, but comes with a few drawbacks. Rather than Ground-type, Sandslash is now an Ice/Steel-type and Ice-type has never been the best defensive type. While Steel does negate some of the issues, and adds a few neat resistances, it gives it two 4* weaknesses, both of which are common, which leave Sandslash in the lurch. With its Speed not being the best, it will be getting hit before it can attach, but thankfully you can use that to your advantage.
Positives
+Decent Attack stat of 100
+Fantastic Defense stat of 120, but with its weaknesses...it needs it
+Significant Physical Movepool

Negatives
-It has two very common 4* weaknesses in Fire & Fighting.
-It is still not as fast as we'd like
-Its Special Defense leaves something to be desired

Abilities

Snow Cloak: Raises the Pokémon’s evasion during a hailstorm by one level. - Like Sand Veil, this ability can be amusing when it works but is just far too unreliable. Its other ability is a much better shout without a doubt
Hidden Ability: (Available)
Slush Rush: Doubles the Pokémon's Speed when Hail is in effect - This doubles Sandslash's Speed in snow, so can actually make Sandslash a force to be reckoned with. Doubling its Speed means it will outspeed the vast majority of non-Scarfed Pokémon and with its physical prowess it can do some significant damage

Movesets

Iceberg, Dead Ahead

- Swords Dance
- Icicle Crash
- Iron Head
- Earthquake
Item Attached: Life Orb
Ability: Slush Rush
EVs and Nature:
EVs: 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Jolly Nature

This is a set that capitalises on Sandslash's strengths. With Slush Rush it can be fast, but Icicle Crash is a good bet. It's a devastating move that can cause the opponent to flinch, so with the added Speed it is very useful. Swords Dance will double its Attack, making it an even larger force to be reckoned with. Iron Head helps deal with Fairy-types and Earthquake provides some solid coverage

Other Options

Aurora Veil can be used on a support Sandslash in order to weaken opponents attacks, which is very useful.
Leech Life got buffed this generation and Alolan Sandslash can get it, which can be a minor form of recovery
Poison Jab and Rock Slide give it some additional coverage
Rapid Spin is always a good option in order to remove Entry Hazards

VGC, Double, & Triple Battle Options

Alolan Sandslash will steal the spotlight today, as its Kantonian Cousin simply cannot compare to Excadrill in the Sand Rush department. Slush Rush, which doubles speed in Hail, is where Alolan Sandslash will shine. That is until Excadrill inexplicably gets Slush Rush too....

Sandslash needs some catering to in order to be effective. Slush Rush is a neat ability, and having one of your STAB moves have a flinch chance is great. Though as said earier, it isn't going to clear the field on its own even after setting up. Before setting up it's only denting things a bit, which may prove useful later in the game. As it stands now, it's a threat to all Tapus under hail, doesn't really do much to Celesteela or Alolan Marowak. It's just a touch fast for Trick Room, and base 100 Attack is terribly mediocre in this day and age. Sandslash, like Hail, is very niche, but will blast holes through teams who ignore it entirely.

Nothing Personal

Swords Dance
Iron Head
Icicle Crash
Protect/Rock Slide
Item Attached: Life Orb or Icium/Steelium Z
Ability: Slush Rush
EVs and Nature:
124 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Def / 4 SDef / 124 Speed
Adamant Nature

To take full advantage of Slush Rush, Sandslash must put out massive offensive pressure, so absolute max attack is neccessary. 124 Speed will make it faster than Max Speed base 130s (Tapu Koko, Aerodactyl) in Hail. The remainder is invested into bulk. Swords Dance and Life Orb/Z-Crystal may seem greedy, until one sees that Sandslash only has base 100 Attack. To ease the pain though, Alolan Ninetales can set up Aurora Veil and in general is a threat all on its own. Sandslashe's strongest STABs are on the set, and Rock Slide is one of the better spread moves it gets, but Protect is fine all the same. This sets greatest weakness however, is that should Sandslash set up properly, it more than likely won't take a game all on its own due to it's strongest attacks being just single target, leaving it wide open for an opposing partner Pokemon to take it out.

Other Options & Team Ideas

-Leech Life: The move is alright coverage, but will only find a home in the most niche sets.
-Brick Break: A solid choice for a coverage move, considering opposing Steel Types will resist the best Sandslash has to offer
-Poison Jab: Very redundant coverage considering Ice/Steel STAB
-Night Slash/Shadow Claw: Similar to leech life, these attacks will serve a very specific on a very uncommon build of Sandslash
-Hail: A solid choice for this metagame considering how many different weather setters there are this year.
-Aurora Veil: In Case Ninetales doesn't have space for it, this too will do. Considering 9 times out of 10, Sandslash's opening partner will be Snow Warning Ninetales.

-Ninetales should be on every team with a Sandslash, setting up Hail automatically, 100% Accurate STAB Blizzards, STAB Dazzling Gleams and Aurora Veil access begs the question... will a better partner ever exist?
-Tapu Lele's Psychic Terrain will make Sandslash setting up a little easier, not having to worry about priority moves is a wonderful thing when you're geared up to smash things.

Countering Alolan Sandslash

Go with the Fire or Fighting-type moves. It's as simple as that. Even with Sandslash's solid defences, it should typically go down in 2 hits, if not 1. Going for Special attacks is a good shout as well since, due to Sandslash's inadequate Special Defense, it will not be able to take many of those hits. Due to its moves being predominantly Ice and Steel focused, switching in a Fire-type is always a good thing. Unfortunately for Sandslash there are just way too many Fire and Fighting-type Pokémon going around. It shudders if it ever sees a Blaziken, Emboar or Infernape...


Locations in Games

Red/Blue/Yellow:
Route 23, Cerulean Cave (Blue, Green)
Cerulean Cave (Yellow)
Trade from Green, Blue or Yellow (Red)

Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald:
Evolve Sandshrew

FireRed/LeafGreen:
Route 23, Victory Road (LeafGreen)
Trade from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/LeafGreen (FireRed)

Colosseum/XD:
Trade from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/LeafGreen (Colosseum)

Diamond/Pearl/Platinum:
Route 228

HeartGold/SoulSilver:
Safari Zone

Black/White:
Relic Castle

Black 2/White 2:
Route 15, Relic Castle

X/Y:
Route 18, Terminus Cave

Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Evolve Sandshrew

Sun/Moon:
Evolve Sandshrew (Moon)
Trade from Moon (Sun)

Animé Appearences

Sandslash has made multiple appearances in the anime, albeit mostly in the background

# -English Episode Name- -Jap. Episode Name- Pics
33 The Flame Pokémon-athon Blazing Pokémon Race Pics
47 A Chansey Operation Chansey's Clinical Records Pics
M1 Mewtwo Strikes Back Mewtwo's Counterattack Pics
73 To Master the Onixpected Bruno of the Elite Four Enters! Pics
77 Round One - Begin! Pokémon League Opening! Match In Water Field! Pics
M2 The Power of One Revelation Lugia Pics
P2 Pikachu's Rescue Adventure Pikachu's Exploration Party Pics
110 Pokémon Double Trouble Tag Match! The Last Gym! Pics
143 Good 'Quil Hunting I Got Cyndaquil! Pics
148 Tricks Of The Trade Wobbuffet and the Pokémon Exchange! Pics
S2 Mewtwo Returns Mewtwo! I am Here Pics
206 Right on, Rhydon! Chase the Swimming Rhydon! Lake of a Battle! Pics
M4 Celebi: Voice of the Forest Celebi: A Timeless Encounter Pics
221 Hi Ho Silver...Away! Legend of the Silver Feather! Silver Rock Island!! Pics
227 Bulbasaur...The Ambassador! Goodbye Bulbasaur! Adventure at Oak's Residence!! Pics
C1 Legend of Thunder Raikou! Legend of Thunder! Pics
247 Will the Real Oak Please Stand Up? Imposter Professor Oak!? Comic Haiku Showdown!! Pics
412 Numero Uno Articuno First Battle! Battle Factory (Part 1) Pics
476 Gymbaliar Croagunk & The Mysterious Gym!! Pics
S22 Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time & Darkness Pokémon Mystery Dungeon - Time & Darkness Expedition Pics
M11 Giratina & The Sky Warrior Giratina & The Bouquet of the Sky - Shaymin Pics
S23 Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky - Beyond Time & Darkness Pokémon Mystery Dungeon - Sky Expedition Pics
M12 Arceus & The Jewel of Life Arceus - Towards Conquering Space-Time Pics
608 Historical Mystery Tour Natu, Xatu...Mysterious Forest! Pics
M17 Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction The Cocoon of Destruction and Diancie Pics

 
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