The ramifications of Dream World abilities have in large part set the tone for the style of play in the 5th generation competitive metagame. Many titans have emerged to both fundamentally reshape old strategies and introduce new ones, while a supporting cast of lesser DW Pokemon have given many old dogs new tricks. If any one Pokemon has been most improved by the Dream World and has had the biggest impact on the overall metagame, across all the tiers, which one would it be?
I've assembled a list of what I think are the top 10 contenders. If you can think of any I've forgotten, feel free to
flameremind me. They are roughly ranked according to my own opinion.
1. Drizzle Politoed
Undeniably one of the most zero-to-hero Pokemon to have ever existed in any tier or any generation, and a strong contender for most significant DW Pokemon. Drizzle Politoed brought the infinite rain only ubers had previously known down into standard play, and with it made permanent rain just as viable of a strategy as Tyranitar did with sand. While Politoed itself isn't necessarily significant, the rain associated with it has allowed many other Pokemon to shine or suffer. Ferrothorn and Scizor arguably saw their meteoric rise to stardom actualize so easily because of rain teams removing their 4x Fire weakness, rain stall and offensive rain teams became a major staple of OU play, and Smogon even introduced a dreaded complex ban as a result of how Politoed meshed with Swift Swimmers in the form of Aldaron's Proposal.
2. Magic Bounce Espeon
If Pokemon was just about direct damaging moves, the person who could get the biggest, fastest stick the quickest would always win. Dealing indirect damage through status moves, entry hazards and phasing/Taunting is an important part of intelligent competitive play. Magic Bounce not only keeps your opponent from using these things on you, but even makes them bounce back at him. Don't have something to lay rocks for you? Get an Espeon and not only can you lay them, you can protect your own side of the field from them. Need to keep your sweeper safe from status? An Espeon can not only protect your frail sweeper, but cripple the other side while doing it. Fear your Baton Passing chain is about to be broken, or need something to pass to? Switch in your Espeon and watch your opponent Taunt himself. Espeon has in many ways become both a great troll and a great anti-troll through its nearly exclusive DW ability.
3. Multiscale Dragonite
The bulkier version of Salamence went from being a good replacement when his Hoenn cousin went to ubers in DPPt to being the third most used Pokemon in OU simply because of Multiscale. Dragonite's ability makes it one of the most difficult-to-break tanks in the game. Solid defensive stats and great defensive typing have always made it the bulky compliment to Salamence's ability to sweep, but Multiscale combined with Roost makes it a nightmare for nearly everything to try and break. Meanwhile, it is still a very capable offensive titan on either attacking stat, making whittling it down a poor option to combat it. Stealth Rock and Mamoswine are still its bane, but having a few cracks in the armor doesn't make it a bad wall. Its meteoric rise in usage certainly guarantees it a spot among the Dream World's most improved.
4. Speed Boost Blaziken
To my knowledge, the only Pokemon to be outright banned to ubers as a result of a Dream World ability. Protect on the first turn to get +1 Speed, Swords Dance on the second turn while they break your Sash to get +2/+2, and Protect again on the third turn to get to +2/+3. After just three turns of fairly safe setup, Blaziken is ready to lay waste to the field before it with its great offensive STABs and blazing power and speed. No other Pokemon has been so directly changed as a result of a Dream World ability as Blaziken has been.
5. Drought Ninetales
The compliment to Drizzle Politoed, Ninetales has brought Groudon's sun into OU in just the same way Politoed brought Kyogre's rain. While sun teams are admittedly much less common than sand or rain, the effective change on the Pokemon itself is the same between Politoed and Ninetales. Many of the same things that made Politoed impressive are also true for Ninetales, making it at least a reasonable candidate.
6. Chlorophyll Venusaur
While Venusaur would be admittedly much less effective without Drought Ninetales, Ninetales would also have little to show for itself without Venusaur soaking up its sun. The original starter Pokemon gained Chlorophyll through the Dream World, and going off of an already decent base 80 Speed, Venusaur is easily the best user of the ability in standard play. With a well rounded movepool and Growth turning to +2/+2 under sun, Venusaur is a strong, versatile sweeper when given sun support thanks to its Dream World ability.
7. Hydration Vaporeon
Unlike Espeon who completely changed roles as a result of its Dream World ability, Vaporeon gaining Hydration was like a good wine aging to its peak. Vaporeon's pure Water typing and excellent defensive stats have always made it a premiere tank. When set out under Politoed's rain however, any dents that are made in Vaporeon's
acidarmor can be instantly repaired. Hydration Rest allows Vaporeon to completely heal itself and remove status in just one turn, not only giving it a better healing mechanism than the likes of Roost or Recover, but also making toxic stalling completely ineffective against it. An already great wall became practically impervious when under rain thanks to its Dream World ability.
8. Poison Heal Gliscor
Vaporeon and Gliscor actually gained very similar improvements through their Dream World abilities. Both were already excellent walls/tanks, and both gained an ability that gives them excellent recovery, while also making status completely ineffective against them. However, while Vaporeon's Hydration is more dramatic and fast-acting, it requires rain to work. Gliscor only needs a Toxic Orb and one turn of Protect to be set for the whole match. Not only does it gain steady recovery more quickly than Leftovers could ever give it, it also keeps it safe from Burn and Poison. The only real downside it that Roost is illegal with it.
9. Magic Guard Alakazam
Sand teams are the most common form of weather users right now. However, while sand will benefit most Rock-, Ground- and Steel-types who aren't hurt by the residual damage, you can't construct an entire team out of them. You have to have some other types represented, but they're going to be hurt by your sand. What to do? Alakazam has the Speed and Special Attack built in to be an extremely dangerous sweeper as soon as he enters the field, and is unaffected by the residual damage of sand or hail teams. He also can't be statused, can't be hurt by entry hazards, and only gains benefits from a Life Orb. Alakazam (or at least a Magic Guard user) is a staple on sand teams because of his great Dream World ability. This is the first time to my knowledge he has been OU since Generation 1.
10. Insomnia Delibird
Do I even need to explain this one? I was saving the best for last. He might not look like much, but Delibird is secretly one of the most devastating sweepers-cross-walls-cross-supporters in the game. I mean, giving him Insomnia? Over Vital Spirit? That's the very definition of sleeper OP (no pun intended). I don't even know why I made a poll, honestly; you know you're going to vote for this guy, right?