I'm sure that phrase has been used for Sableye countless times, but whatever.
Pokemon of the Week: Sableye
This Pokemon of the Week is dedicated to my favorite Pokemon, Sableye. I'm a little obsessed with it. It has gem eyes, it's a ghost goblin, it's inspired by an alleged alien encounter, it's a troll, it has the most fun playstyle ever, it manages to be a total boss despite its horrid stats...I also used it in my first "competitive" team (it was a terrible team), along with some others.
Enough rambling about why I like it. I could have typed more, so be thankful it was just one short paragraph. On to the main course, which is me rambling about how it performs in competitive Pokemon. I am okay with this. When it was introduced in RSE, Sableye was pretty bad. While it had great typing (in fact, it was the first Pokemon to have no weaknesses) and a decent movepool, its horrid base stats made it pretty hard to use. Its lone ability, Keen Eye, didn't help a bit. DPP was a mixed bag for it. It gained Will-o-wisp, which, for some reason, it lacked earlier, along with other moves like Sucker Punch. However, it gained a new competitor in Spiritomb, a Pokemon with the same typing but actually decent stats. It also got a signature ability in Stall, which I find to be yet another middle finger to it, considering Stall happens to be one of the worst abilities in the game, only being out-worsed by Traunt and Slow Start.
Then, come BW, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Um, I mean, when Hidden Abilities were introduced. Sableye, in a miracle, was blessed with Prankster -- one of the best abilities in the game. With its typing, Taunt, Will-o-wisp, and Recover, Sableye ascended into actually being usable. Very usable, actually, as aforementioned tools enabled it to easily shut down most physical attackers and defensive Pokemon. Now, in the XY metagame, Sableye gained an actual weakness in Fairy, but it still manages to be a great Pokemon in UU, while being usable in OU. In fact, when it dropped to RU, it was quickbanned from the tier along with Kyurem and Azelf for being deemed broken.
I'll be talking more about its UU performance but it's good in OU too, just not as much. It uses the same set for each anyway.
Sableye @ Leftovers
EVs: 252 HP / 60 Defense / 192 Sp. Defense / 4 Speed
Knock Off/Foul Play/Snarl/Night Shade/Confide
A lot of spreads max out special defense or physical defense, along with HP, but this sort of spread is what I prefer to use, with mixed bulk. The defense EVs given allow it to avoid the 2HKO from Mega Scizor's Bullet Punch, which is useful. Anyways, Sableye only has one good set, but it's pretty damn good. Will-o-wisp is one of its most important moves. Granted priority with Prankster, it can burn physical attackers before they even attack. It's not just useful for crippling physical attackers, as the damage it does is Sableye's main method of fainting Pokemon in general. Taunt forces the opponent to attack Sableye, which is very useful for avoiding status moves like Toxic and Thunder Wave, as well as opposing Taunts. It also prevents the opponent from setting up or healing. In a situation where Sableye is up against a hard hitting physical attacker with a boosting/status move, such as Garchomp, it will have to decide whether to Will-o-wisp or Taunt. Ideally, it would want to Taunt a Swords Dance and Will-o-wisp an attacking move, but proper prediction can be tricky. Recover is for healing off damage done to it. Unlike moves like Synthesis and Moonlight, Recover sits at a nice 16 PP, and is unaffected by weather conditions, making it significantly more reliable.
The last slot is generally for an attacking move. Knock Off is arguably the best option, as the item removing hit does noticeable damage despite Sableye's low attack stat, while removing items, which is very useful, as almost no Pokemon wants their item removed. When using Knock Off, Careful is the superior nature -- go with Calm otherwise, to lower confusion and opposing Foul Play damage. Sableye can use Foul Play itself to hit physical attackers harder, especially ones that have managed to boost attack while burned by Will-o-wisp, and offensive fire types (which are immune to burn) that are switching in, such as Darmanitan and Victini. Snarl does a bit of damage and lowers the opponent's special attack, allowing Sableye to better handle special attacking Pokemon. Due to being a sound based move, it also pierces Substitutes. Night Shade deals consistent damage but offers nothing besides that. Confide is similar to Snarl, only it is granted priority by Prankster due to not dealing damage. Despite having priority, its lack of damage output can be problematic, as it makes Sableye Taunt bait (not that it's easy to Taunt), as well as not allowing Sableye to damage Pokemon outside of burn at all.
Threats to Sableye: Sableye has problems dealing with hard hitting special attackers like Hydreigon and offensive Roserade, as they aren't neutered by Will-o-wisp, allowing them to hit it very hard. However, although uncommon on Sableye, they must be careful of Snarl and Confide, as with them, Sableye might be able to hang on while they die to burn damage. Some physical attackers can also beat it, such as fire types, like Darmanitan and Arcanine, which are immune to being burned by Will-o-wisp. They can switch in and blow it away with powerful attacks, although they must be wary of being hit by Foul Play on the switch, which deals massive damage to physically attacking fire-types. Fairy-types also fare well against Sableye, especially Aromatisse, which is even immune to Taunt due to Aroma Veil. Pokemon with Guts, such as Heracross, actually enjoy getting burned, as it boosts their attack, allowing them to easily take out Sableye. When it comes to Sableye counters, it must be noted that none of them appreciate losing their item to Knock Off, making the word "counter" a bit shaky for all of them, with the obvious exceptions of Mega Evolutions.
Things Sableye threatens: As stated, Sableye easily shuts down most physical attackers with priority Will-o-wisp. It takes on mono fighting-types particularly well (as long as they lack Guts), as it is immune to their STAB attacks, which is especially helpful when switching in. Similar can be said of mono psychic-types, although the special attacking ones can attack Sableye's more vulnerable special defense. Sableye also breaks down most defensive and support Pokemon with Taunt, they can usually do little back while slowly dying to burn damage.
Teammates: Sableye is good at taking on physical attackers, so it is a good teammate to Pokemon that lack in physical defense. Specially defensive Pokemon like Blissey and Florges are useful for taking on the special attackers that Sableye struggles with, those two in particular also providing useful Heal Bell/Aromatherapy support, should Sableye get statused (toxic poison and paralysis are especially problematic for it). Pokemon that can beat fire-types, like Slowbro and Blastoise, are also quite useful. Lastly, Sableye is a good spinblocker, and can even prevent Defog with Taunt, making it a good team player on teams that abuse hazards.
As you all know, Sableye was granted a Mega Evolution in ORAS. I was very happy about this, but much to my dismay, it was revealed to have Magic Bounce instead of Prankster. Magic Bounce is a fantastic ability, but it's arguably less useful on Sableye than Prankster, and it's not as fun either. Alas, I still believe Mega Sableye will perform well. I'll go on to explain sets I theorize will work well. My somewhat optimistic guess for the base stat spread is:
50/75/75/65/65/50 --> 50/75/135/95/95/30
According to the official site, "its Defense and Sp. Attack stats both get big boosts", while mentioning that its speed "does decrease slightly". This wording makes it unlikely that special defense will receive a larger boost than special attack, much to my dismay...I seriously hope they don't raise its special attack more than that, its defenses are far more important.
Sableye @ Mega Stone
Ability: Magic Bounce
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Defense / 4 Sp. Defense
Assuming it has stats similar to what I posted, I believe Mega Sableye will make a good Calm Mind sweeper. Thanks to Magic Bounce, it is immune to status moves, phazing from Roar and Whirlwind, and Taunt. This lets it easier set up Calm Mind, boosting its weaker defensive stat to formidable levels. Recover heals off any health lost. Dark Pulse, using Mega Sableye's higher special attack, stings quite a bit after some Calm Mind boosts. It also has great neutral coverage, with nothing even being immune to it, although the fact that fairies resist it is problematic. Snarl is much weaker, but allows Mega Sableye to handle special attackers even easier, while hitting through Subs. Will-o-wisp is useful against physical attackers that try to blast through Mega Sableye's physical side, which is quite beefy, but definitely not impenetrable.
While intended to sweep, this set is still great at supporting due to Magic Bounce, allowing it to reflect hazards and status for the team if it needs to. It's also noteworthy that, in a reverse Mega Banette fashion, Mega Sableye retains Prankster on the first turn it Mega Evolves, allowing it to use the appropriate move with priority one time. It's also not required to Mega Evolve it right away, as regular Sableye can perform well even without Leftovers. Critical hits are especially problematic for this set.
All out support
Sableye @ Mega Stone
Ability: Magic Bounce
EVs: 252 HP / 252 Defense / 4 Sp. Defense
Snarl/Metal Burst/Taunt/Knock Off
The previous set was a mix of sweeping and support, but this set is entirely support based, allowing it to better help its team out with Magic Bounce and its defensive capabilities. Recover is again self explanatory for healing off damage, allowing it to stay around longer. Will-o-wisp allows it to burn opponents, especially physical attackers, allowing it to better handle them. Foul Play is especially useful on Mega Sableye as it lacks priority on Will-o-wisp, and with its beefier defense, taking a physical blow and Foul Playing back will often be the superior option to burning something. There are a lot of options for tha last slot. Snarl helps it beat special attackers, so despite being the same type attack as Foul Play, it performs an entirely different function. Metal Burst is useful for special attackers and physical attackers that resist Foul Play. While Mega Sableye's Magic Bounce reflects moves like Spikes, Taunt and Toxic, the opponent can still use stat boosting moves like Dragon Dance and recovery moves like Morning Sun. Taunt can be useful for preventing this. Lastly, Knock Off removes items as always. As with the last set, mega evolving Sableye immediately isn't always the best course of action.
Threats to Mega Sableye: Without priority Taunt, Mega Sableye struggles to defeat Pokemon with recovery moves, although the Calm Mind set can boost to a point where Dark Pulse and Snarl will allow it to break through anyway. Fire-types are still an issue, as with regular Sableye, but not as much so since Mega Sableye is less reliant on Will-o-wisp than its regular form. Fairies are still just as threatening. Hard hitting special attackers are also a problem, as they can even break through the Calm Mind set with critical hits, which are likely as Mega Sableye aims to set up multiple Calm Mind boosts.
Things Mega Sableye threatens: Mega Sableye shuts down most entry hazard setters, such as Skarmory and Ferrothorn, as they can't do anything to it besides try and dent it with their attacks, which Mega Sableye can easily heal off. Mega Sableye also fares well against many defensive and support Pokemon, though it can't prevent Wish, Heal Bell and the like easily due to the lack of priority Taunt. Physical attackers, especially fighting types, will struggle to defeat it with its high physical bulk, Will-o-wisp, and Recover.
Teammates: Since it reflects hazards, Mega Sableye can allow a team to get hazards up without even having a hazard setter, assuming the opposing team has a hazard setter of their own. It appreciates Wish support since it lacks the priority Recover that regular Sableye has, so a teammate like Blissey is quite useful. Blissey is also a special wall, which Mega Sableye appreciates due to its lower special defense stat. Mega Sableye is a good recepitent of Baton Pass boosts, as it's immune to status and every phazing move besides Dragon Tail. It handles fighting-types very well, as well as physical attackers in general, so it's useful to teammates that lack physical defense and ones weak to said fighting-types. Porygon2 is an example of a Pokemon that struggles with fighting-types.
A reminder that this Mega Sableye section is based on theorymoning, and estimated base stats.