Sandslash, the Mouse Pokémon. The drier the area Sandslash lives in, the harder and smoother the Pokémon's spikes will feel when touched. It climbs trees by hooking on with its sharp claws. Sandslash shares the berries it gathers, dropping them down to Sandshrew waiting below the tree.
The more things change the more they stay the same sums up Sandslash’s plight. The changes in the generational shift outside of the speed bonus Rapid Spin gives have largely passed Sandslash by. Being able to self-set Sandstorm with a Max Rockfall to fuel a Sand Rush Sweep is nice, but in the end, Sandslash is just outclassed.
Excadrill does everything Sandslash wants to do but better with superior typing, bulk and attack, even occupying the same Sand Rush/Rapid Spin niche. Even without Excadrill, Dracozolt still makes for a better Sand Rush sweeper, while Claydol is a superior Ground type Rapid Spinner. Additionally, Sandslash’s poor Special Defense and common weaknesses do it no favors in taking hits which is especially troubling given its lackluster Speed outside of Sand Rush. Couple this with only average Attack, and Sandslash ends up being a Pokémon that struggles to perform especially in the face of its competition.
STAB Earthquake with usable attack ensures Sandslash can hit decently hard.
Good coverage/support options in Rapid Spin, Knock Off, Stone Edge, and Leech Life give Sandlash decent breadth to its game while playing offese.
Base 110 Defense and decent HP ensures Sandslash can take a physical hit or two.
Common Weaknesses and Poor Special Defense prevents Sandlash from taking as many hits as it would like.
Poor Speed outside of Sand Rush means that Sandslash will often take a hit before it can act, further compromising its bulk.
Outclassed by many other Pokémon, regardless of the role it takes.
Item Attached: Life Orb
Ability: Sand Rush
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Classic Sand Rush Sweeper set. Use Swords Dance to boost Sandslash’s Attack to respectable levels, then go for the sweep. Sandslash is deceptively powerful in the sand. While Sandslash’s attack isn’t the stuff of legends even after a Swords Dance boost, the chip damage from Sandstorm can push many Pokémon over the edge, and the Sandstorm Immune Rock and Steel types do not want to be eating STAB Earthquake. Rock Slide is great coverage, synergizing incredibly well with Earthquake while having a meaty flinch chance in the sand. Knock Off rounds out the set, having fantastic neutral coverage and is an easily spammable option applicable in nearly every situation and can punish normal counters to this set.
Sandslash loves Dynamax giving it invaluable extra bulk and power. Max Quake shores up Sandslash’s meager Special Defense while Max Rockfall resets the Sandstorm Sandslash so desperately relies on. Just make sure to Swords Dance before you Dynamax to get the most out of it.
EVs and Items
Standard Sweeper Array to ensure Sandslash hits as hard and fast as possible when it goes for the sweep. Adamant Nature is preferred -Sandslash enjoys the extra power when fully setup and naturally outspeeds unboosted Base 150 targets in the Sand. Jolly has merit if Sandslash is caught outside of Sand, outspeeding Neutral Base 75 targets, but the drop in power is noticeable. Life Orb is preferred to get as much power out of Sandslash as possible.
Any teammate that can set Sand is invaluable to Sandslash. Tyranitar and Gigalith stand out thanks to not sharing an Ice weakness with Sandslash, slightly reducing the stress on team building. The other Sand setters, Hippowdon and Sandaconda also work great, especially with Sandaconda providing further Speed control with Glare, but they offer the same defensive utility and weaknesses as Sandslash which is less than ideal. Tentacruel and Ferrothorn make excellent partners for Sandslash, having phenomenal Special Bulk and resisting or taking neutral from Sandslash’s weaknesses while heaping further passive damage with their Entry Hazards and Scald/Leech Seed. Magneton and Magnezone deserve a mention for trapping and eliminating Skarmory, Celesteela and Corviknight who hard wall this set..
Leech Life -hits Grass types and provides recovery but otherwise is a poor coverage option.
Rapid Spin -another fantastic support option while enabling Sandslash to outspeed outside of Sand.
Choice Band -Swords Dance can be forgone for a 4th move and Choice Band, giving more immediate power without trying to find an opportunity to setup and waste a turn of Sand, but the drop in power when Dynamaxing is noticeable.
Spikes/Stealth Rock -Sandslash can try going for a defensive support set, but it is let down by its poor special bulk and typing.
The Steel Flying types in Skarmory, Celesteela and Corviknight are major walls to Sandslash, able to comfortably tank even Swords Dance boosted hits and Roost the damage off, though none of them like eating a Knock Off and losing their Heavy Duty Boots or Leftovers. Other physically defensive Pokémon like Muddsdale and Hippowdon can also reliably tank attacks and stall out Sandstorm.
While Sandslash is very difficult to outspeed unboosted in the sand, Choice Scarf users like Bacephalon, Inteleon, Latios, etc. can reliably outspeed and OHKO Sandslash in turn, as can Sharpedo after a Speed Boost.
Otherwise, the best way to stop Sandslash is to mess with the weather. Sandslash is incredibly reliant on Sand to become a threat, so anything that removes Sand leaves Sandslash slow and a sitting duck thanks to its poor Speed, common weaknesses and Special Bulk.
Alolan Sandslash returns as one of the best Slush Rush sweepers in the game. The addition of Triple Axel gives Alolan Sandlash an incredibly brutal new STAB alongside its already great coverage. Ice Steel typing is one of the best for a Slush Rush sweeper, giving Alolan Sandslash a slew of resistances and thus many opportunities to switch in. Excellent support options in Knock Off and Rapid Spin round out Alolan Sandslash for a reliable pick even when it is not hailing.
However, all is not good for Alolan Sandslash. Hail strategies are horribly inconsistent thanks to the forced weakness stacking with the many weaknesses Ice types have and Dynamax providing just about every team on demand weather disruption on top of the strict time limit. And while Alolan Sandslash has many resistances, it also has a whole slew of weaknesses including two quadruple weakness to Fire and Fighting, which can make staying difficult. The addition of Arctozolt as another Slush Rush sweeper is also worrying, thanks to the incredible power and synergy of Bolt Beak with Ice STAB. Finally, while Triple Axel is a fantastic STAB, its less than stellar accuracy leaves Alolan Sandslash with a rather hit and miss move as its key attack.Positives
Ice Steel typing with Base 120 Defense gives Alolan Sandslash an impressive defense profile, able to tank several hits while it sets up or attacks.
Triple Axel is an incredible STAB in both power and coverage, and couple that with options like Earthquake and Knock Off makes Alolan Sandslash hard to stop once it gets going.
One of the best Slush Rush sweepers in the game thanks to its great bulk, typing and speed in the snow.
Two Quadruple Weakness in Fire and Fighting alongside a poor Base 65 Special Defense gives Alolan Sandslash several Achilles Heels it would rather not have.
Average Attack necessitates running Swords Dance to get KOs on neutral targets
Favored partners share the same weaknesses as Alolan Sandslash stressing team building.
Item Attached: Wide Lens
Ability: Slush Rush
EVs and Nature:
4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Slush Rush sweeper uses its fantastic defensive profile to come in, setup a Swords Dance and proceed to rip teams asunder. Triple Axel is a brutal STAB, hitting many popular picks like Garchomp, Landorus Therian, Rillaboom, etc. for massive damage even unboosted. And combined with the near universal chip damage from Hail and potential entry hazards makes Alolan Sandslash very hard to wall indeed. Earthquake is a fantastic coverage move, hitting opposing Fire, Steel, and Toxapex targets that otherwise stymie Ice assaults hard. Knock Off again rounds out the set as a very spammable option with wide utility and great neutral coverage.
Like its Kantonian Counterpart, Alolan Sandslash loves Dynamax for the bulk boost. Triple Axel becoming a self-setting Hail move while repairing its accuracy and not losing any power is a great boon and Sandslash, Kantonian or Alolan always loves Max Quake patching up its lackluster Special Defense. Again, if running a Swords Dance set, you want to setup the Swords Dance before Dynamaxing. .
EVs and Items
Standard Sweeper array. You want Alolan Sandslash to hit as hard and fast as possible. Adamant is again preferred for the extra power. Going for a Jolly nature does enable you to outspeed Scarf Landorus Therian, Scarf Salamance and the like, but if not concerned about Scarf users, Adamant outspeeds near everything unboosted anyways. Wide Lens is the item of choice to repair Triple Axel’s less than great accuracy, though if you want to gamble with extra power, Life Orb is always an option.
It is a partnership as old as the third generation, weather abusing sweepers love their weather setting partners. Snow Warning Pokémon such as Abomasnow, Vanilluxe, Aurorus and Alolan Ninetails all make for great picks. Being able to setup Aurora Veil to give Alolan Sandslash more breathing room to setup Swords Dance is just icing on the cake. Overcoat Kommo-o makes for a great Hail Partner, thanks to it not being bothered by Hail while providing invaluable Fire resistance on a team stacking multiple Fire weak Pokémon
Iron Head -STAB move that hits Fairy and Rock types hard and has a nice flinch chance.
Rock Slide -hits Volcarona, Centiskorch and Charizard harder than any of Alolan Sandslash’s other moves.
Aqua Tail -punishes opposing Fire and Ground types.
Rapid Spin -great utility and enables Alolan Sandslash to outspeed targets outside of Hail.
Checks & Counters
Mach Punch and Vacuum Wave are Alolan Sandslash’s bane, being priority moves that strike out against its Achilles Heels, and giving it no recourse, even in the snow. Guts Conkeldurr, Lucario, Toxicroak, and Hitmontop can all reliably OHKO Alolan Sandslash regardless of its speed in Hail, though they don’t like switching into any of Alolan Sandslash’s attacks.
Fast Scarf users like Blacephalon, Latios, and Dragapult can also outspeed Alolan Sandslash in the snow and easily revenge KO it but never want to switch in.
Weather Disruption is again heavily recommended, as without it, Alolan Sandslash is pitifully slow and can be KO'd before it can attack. Weather setters like Torkoal and Politoed are recommended, as all Sand Stream setters are weak to Alolan Sandslash's STABs.
Unaware Quagsire can tank boosted attacks in the snow and Recover the damage off while striking back with STAB Earthquake or crippling with Scald, but honestly few Pokémon can tank a Swords Dance boosted Triple Axel and Hail Damage and the few who can are either wrecked by coverage moves or will be crippled for the rest of the match.
Locations in Games
Route 23, Cerulean Cave( Blue)
Cerulean Cave (Yellow)
Trade from Blue/Yellow (Red)
Rock Route 26, Route 27, Mt. Moon (Gold)
Evolve Sandshrew (Silver)
Route 26, Victory Road (Crystal)
Route 23, Victory Road (FireRed)
Trade from Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/FireRed (LeafGreen)
Evolve Sandshrew (XD)
Black 2/White 2:
Route 15, Relic Castle
Route 18, Terminus Cave
Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire:
Evolve Sandshrew (Moon)
Trade from Moon/Ultra Moon (Sun)
Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon:
Evolve Sandshrew (Ultra Moon)
Trade from Moon/Ultra Moon (Ultra Sun)
Totem Size: Heahea City
Let's Go, Pikachu!/Let's Go, Eevee!:
Evolve Sandshrew (Let's Go, Pikachu)
Trade from Let's Go, Pikachu/Pokémon GO (Let's Go, Eevee)
Forest of Focus, Potbottom Desert
Max Raid Battles: Challenge Beach, Courageous Cavern, Potbottom Desert, Stepping-Stone Sea
Dynamax Adventures (Alolan Form)
Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl:
Grand Underground (Shining Pearl)
Not in game