Competitive Pokémon tier changes for December 2023 cover image

Competitive Pokémon tier changes for December 2023

As we head into the Christmas season, competitive Pokémon still rise and fall each month. Let’s break down December’s changes to the Pokémon tiers.

As Mariah Carey thaws from her yearly frozen tomb, it marks the start of December. The new month comes with changes to Pokémon tier rankings. Pokémon fall and rise through tiers monthly, and Pokémon that fail to reach a 4.52% usage rate on Smogon fall to a lower tier. The goal of this is to achieve a balanced game. Lots of Pokémon rose and fell through the tiers, and here are the most notable December changes.

Pokémon   December tier changes (Image via <a href="https://twitter.com/SmogonU/status/1730617758273192396">Smogon</a>)
Pokémon December tier changes (Image via Smogon)

The return of Garchomp to Pokémon's Overused tier

In terms of changes for the OverUsed (OU) Pokémon tier, both Garchomp and Garganacl rose to the top. The generation 4 pseudo-legendary's rise to the OU tier was mainly due to the Rocky Helmet set that shut down various physical attackers such as Kingambit. Meanwhile, Garganacl's Body Press set had a similar role to play and served as a great defensive tool to shut down Pokémon like Sneasler that ran rampant.

Garchomp build screenshot (Image via Smogon)
Garchomp build screenshot (Image via Smogon)

Additionally, both Amoonguss and Skeledirge rose to the OU tier for December. Amoonguss provided defensive utility with the combination of its Regenerator ability, move pool, and bulk. Amoonguss dealt with different grass-type Pokémon like Ogerpon and Rillaboom that ran rampant in the tier. On the other hand, the Torch Song machine Skeledirge found good usage on teams. Both the Hex set and the Substitute sets for the fire-type starter saw widespread and successful use.

Alolan Ninetales drops to UU

That's right. Alolan Ninetales, the infamous instant Aurora Veil setter, dropped to the UnderUsed (UU) tier. This was quite the surprise, as the strength of Aurora Veil was expected to fare well in the OU tier. However, the stats didn't lie, and the Pokémon changed tiers. What's strong about Ninetails is that it doesn't need to be dedicated exclusively to snow teams. So expect to see a lot more Alolan Ninetales in the UU tier.

Alolan Ninetales (Image via The Pokémon Company)
Alolan Ninetales (Image via The Pokémon Company)

On the other side of the weather, Barraskewda rose to the tier alongside Iron Leaves. Rain teams in Pokémon's UU tier got stronger tenfold with the Barraskewda change. The Pokémon was a prime choice for a physical Swift Swim attacker. The impressive base 123 attack and 136 speed made Barraskewda a terrifying threat under the rain while Swift Swim was active.

Lots of new faces in Pokémon's NU tier

The last Pokémon tier to receive some major changes is the NeverUsed (NU) tier. There's been a lot of Pokémon that have dropped from RU to NU and even a couple who have risen from PU to NU. Both Abamasnow and Chansey have risen to the tier while some notable names from RU have fallen into NU. Notable Pokémon like Arcanine, Scream Tail, Paldean Tauros, Umbreon and more. A full list of the new Pokémon in NU is below:

The last Pokémon tier to receive some major changes was the NeverUsed (NU) tier. There were a lot of Pokémon that dropped from Rarelyused (RU) to NU and even a couple that rose from PU to NU. Both Abomasnow and Chansey rose to the tier, while some notable names from RU fell into NU. Notable Pokémon included Arcanine, Scream Tail, Paldean Tauros, Umbreon, and more. A full list of the new Pokémon in NU is below:

  • Abomasnow
  • Chansey
  • Ambipom
  • Arcanine
  • Hisuian Braviary
  • Hisuian Decidueye
  • Dipplin
  • Flamigo
  • Gallade
  • Grafaiai
  • Mudsdale
  • Ninetales
  • Scream Tail
  • Shiftry
  • Sylveon
  • Paldean Tauros
  • Toedscruel
  • Tsareena
  • Umbreon
  • Wo-Chien

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