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Old April 5th, 2012 (10:44 PM).
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Vrai Vrai is offline
can you feel my heart?
  • Crystal Tier
Join Date: Jun 2008
Age: 23
Gender: Male
Nature: Adamant
Posts: 2,898

Hi guys! Some of you might have noticed Nica's mounting interest in NeverUsed (NU), or trying to get everyone on the server to play it instead of OU. Don't think that it's a one-or-the-other sort of choice, but it's very easy to learn how to play another metagame outside of OU, and it often helps you understand your battling skills even more and become a better player as a result! Anyway, I'm posting this on Anti's request to sort of introduce everyone who wants to play NU to the NU metagame, which is much, much different from OU. NU is the lowest tier on the listings, so what's down here is essentially "the bottom of the barrel", but don't take that the wrong way. The NU metagame is very unique and many Pokemon can find success here, so let's start by taking a closer look!

Wait... what are these differences between NU and OU?

  1. The difference in power level between the two is immense. In OU, there are monstrosities like Terrakion, Alakazam, Dragonite, Haxorus and Tyranitar lurking around every corner, with base attacking stats exceeding 120, 130, and even 140. These Pokemon are great because they have few flaws and work exceptionally well, especially when they have a decent team built around them. There are a few very powerful Pokemon similar to those that are present in NU, but many have huge flaws that can easily be taken advantage of. For example, Swellow is one of the best sweepers available in NU. Thanks to Guts, Swellow can use a Toxic Orb to boost its Attack to incredible levels, and then spam a boosted Facade to deal a ton of damage. Swellow is also one of the fastest Pokemon available in NU, meaning that it's going to be very hard to revenge-kill without resorting to a Choice Scarf user. However, Swellow's coverage doesn't expand beyond Normal- and Flying-type moves, which leaves it utterly walled by Rock- and Steel-types, such as Regirock and Lairon.
  2. We don't have any common priority moves! OU is full to the brim with Extremespeed, Mach Punch, and Bullet Punch, but there are hardly any priority users available in NU at all (although we would greatly appreciate some...). The most common priority user in NU would be Absol, whose Sucker Punch is incredibly powerful and can revenge a lot of Pokemon. Sucker Punch has one fatal flaw, though; it doesn't work when the opponent is not attacking, so faster Pokemon such as Jynx can outspeed Absol and set up a Substitute, then proceed to OHKO Absol because it's sort of frail. Many faster Pokemon will carry Substitute simply to prevent Absol from effectively revenge-killing them, so be wary! Some other Pokemon like Swellow will carry priority of their own (Quick Attack). If Swellow were to use Quick Attack while Absol uses Sucker Punch, Sucker Punch will fail, and Absol will be 2HKOed. Other available priority moves range from Gurdurr's Mach Punch to Basculin's Aqua Jet, although neither are particularly common.
  3. I can imagine you looking over the tier list now: "Dragon- and Steel-types? What happened to them??" Well... the other tiers stole all the good ones. ;__; NU has only one fully evolved Dragon-type, and its name is Altaria. There are a horde of NFE Dragon-types, though, ranging from Fraxure to Dragonair to Shelgon. These miniature Dragon-types can be just as effective as their parents in the upper tiers, and Altaria is surprisingly good down in NU. They lack the immediate attacking power of their brethren, but Eviolite-induced bulk and the fact that there are few Steel-types available in the tier make for a very powerful and effective Outrage. Speaking of Steel-types... Bastiodon, Probopass, Wormadam-S and Mawile are actually your only four fully-evolved Steel-types, and none are particularly offensive enough to deal with the rampaging Dragon-types. You may have to rely on other methods of handling them... but we'll get to that later on, won't we? ;)
  4. Entry hazards and Rapid Spin! Yes, well, where OU has Skarmory, Forretress, and Starmie, NU has... none of those things. There are only four fully-evolved users of Spikes even available in the tier, and none of them are particularly bulky: Glalie, Cacturne, Maractus, and Garbodor. There are even less users of Toxic Spikes, although Stealth Rock still remains in good supply. The point is, though, that it's hard to set up hazards in NU, and if you're really intent on setting them, you'll likely be relying on an NFE Pokemon, such as Tentacool, Whirlipede, or Omanyte to set your hazards. But if entry hazard users are few and far between, then Rapid Spin users are even rarer. Less than a handful of Pokemon in NU can even learn Rapid Spin, and hardly any of them would be able to defeat a Ghost-type intent on preventing their Spin. Wartortle, Armaldo, Torkoal, and Cryogonal are some of the most common, with Cryogonal being the most popular thanks to Levitate and Recover. A Rapid Spin user is a great thing to have on a team, though, because many NU players don't expect one!
  5. There are quite a few other differences between NU and OU, but these are the major ones. Besides, this was just a giant wall of text with no pictures so let's get back to pictures!!!

OMG THIS IS AWESOME! Vrai, I'm ready to make my team and thrash you!!

That's what you're thinking, right? But you hardly know anything about the metagame yet! I explained a little bit, yes, but let's take a really fast look at some of the most popular threats in NU. You'll notice that at the top of this page I included a bunch of sprites of Pokemon in NU. Well, those are actually the most used Pokemon from March's stats, save Mesprit who has just moved up to RU (and would have settled in at #2, right after Magmortar!). We'll go through the top twenty or so threats in NU, just so you have a quick rundown on the metagame and know what to expect! I'll go through the sets with a format a little like this, with their most common set:
Name @ Item, Ability
X Nature; EVs / EVs / EVs
Move 1 / Move 2 / Move 3 / Move 4 or Move 5
What does it do? blah blah blah
How do I beat it? blah blah blah

You got it? Let's go!

Top 15 Threatlist

Magmortar @ Life Orb, Vital Spirit | #1
Timid Nature; 24 HP / 252 SpA / 232 Spe
Fire Blast / Thunderbolt / Focus Blast / Hidden Power Ice or Hidden Power Grass
What does it do? Oh man, the big honcho himself. Magmortar rules the roost around NU, and it's easy to see why. He's got great coverage in general, and immense power in those cannons. Life Orb-boosted Fire Blasts are incredibly powerful, and very difficult to tank. He also has extra coverage in Thunderbolt (for bulky Water-types), Focus Blast (primarily for Lickilicky), and HP Ice (for Altaria) or HP Grass (for Quagsire). Vital Spirit also prevents you from putting him to sleep, so beware that!

How do I beat it? There are a couple specialized checks. Specially defensive Altaria will always win if Magmortar lacks HP Ice (some will forgo it for Substitute, while others might be using choiced sets, too!). Flareon will easily handle all sets, and can recover off damage with Wish. Camerupt resists or is immune to most of Magmortar's moveset, but beware - repeated hits will take a toll on Camerupt's modest defenses. Obviously, though, it's much harder to wall it than it is to kill! Magmortar is still relatively slow even by NU's standards, and will be hard-pressed to find enough time to attack more than once against most offensive teams. If a powerful Pokemon such as Sawk or Swellow manages to find its way in on Magmortar, Magmortar is essentially doomed. Likewise, Absol can put it in checkmate with Sucker Punch.
Sawk @ Choice Band, Sturdy | #3
Jolly Nature; 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Close Combat / Earthquake / Stone Edge / Reversal or Toxic
What does it do? Sawk is the most powerful Fighting-type in NU, and it sits at a decent base 85 Speed. Its STAB Close Combats hit even resists very hard, so it's important to eliminate it ASAP before it can get too many of those off! Sawk has a small moveset, but enough to get the job done; as such, it will usually be equipped with either a Choice Scarf or a Choice Band. Beware the Fist Plate variants though! Sturdy is an excellent ability, as if you don't have hazards up or you haven't attacked Sawk yet, it will always live at 1 HP and be able to attack again.

How do I beat it? Despite Sawk's immense power, it's got plenty of counters. Misdreavus isn't even 3HKOed by any of its moves and can burn in return. Physically defensive Exeggutor can handle it easily and Leech Seed away. Musharna and other bulky Psychic-types have no trouble absorbing its Close Combats and retaliating with their STAB moves. Tangela has massive physical Defense, and can KO a -1 / -1 Sawk with Giga Drain. Offensively, many Pokemon such as Rotom-S can outrun and KO Sawk with their STAB moves.
Jynx @ Leftovers, Dry Skin | #4
Timid Nature; 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Ice Beam / Lovely Kiss or Psychic / Substitute / Nasty Plot
What does it do? Jynx is a powerful special attacker, and can really mess with teams. Lovely Kiss is its ace-in-the-hole, despite the 75% accuracy - it seems to hit 100% of the time anyway, and allows Jynx to set up with impunity on a lot of things. Dry Skin was a glorious gift, as Jynx becomes effectively immune to Water-type attacks and gets bonus recovery in rain. Jynx is also one of the few counters to Gorebyss, as it is immune to her STAB moves and can OHKO in return with Psychic!

How do I beat it? Jynx is difficult to outright counter thanks to Lovely Kiss, so it's good to carry a few checks to it. Faster Pokemon, such as Charizard, Simisear, and Electabuzz can all outspeed and do a ton of damage. Electabuzz can also switch in on Lovely Kiss, although it must beware a boosted Ice Beam. Eviolite Magmar with RestTalk is one of the best counters to Jynx, although the set has no analysis yet. Specially defensive Skuntank is hardly bothered by anything Jynx can do and can OHKO with Pursuit or Sucker Punch. The best way to deal with Jynx, though, is to bring something that outspeeds and OHKOs it - Swellow, for instance.

Golem @ Leftovers, Sturdy | #5
Adamant Nature; 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spe
Stealth Rock / Earthquake / Rock Blast / Sucker Punch
What does it do? Golem has become infamous as a lead Pokemon. Getting up an early Stealth Rock is invaluable, and Golem is essentially guaranteed that thanks to Sturdy. Golem is also surprisingly powerful, and can act as a makeshift check to some dangerous Pokemon if Sturdy is still intact. Rock Blast is particularly helpful against opposing lead Ninjask, who could pose a problem if Golem used Stone Edge. Lum Berry is also usable, if Butterfree proves to be a problem.

How do I beat it? Taunt users, such as Persian and Electrode, can prevent it from setting up SR, but otherwise there's not a whole lot to counter with Golem. Bulky Grass- and Water-types such as Leafeon and Samurott can OHKO Golem as long as Sturdy is not intact, and both have access to priority moves to bypass Sucker Punch, if necessary. Torterra resists both Rock Blast and Earthquake, and can OHKO it with Wood Hammer (or 2HKO with Earthquake).

Absol @ Life Orb, Super Luck | #6
Adamant Nature; 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Swords Dance / Sucker Punch / Night Slash / Superpower
What does it do? Absol is notorious as the primary revenge-killer of the tier; its Sucker Punch does a ton of damage, and will often save your skin if a Pokemon gets out of control. Night Slash provides reliable STAB, so you don't have to rely on them attacking all the time, and Superpower provides the best coverage it can get. Swords Dance rounds it off, and if Absol gets more than a boost or two, it often means GG.

How do I beat it? Bulky Fighting-types like Gurdurr and Throh are usually the best way to handle it. Gurdurr in particular takes little damage from even a Superpower and can Drain Punch to OHKO and get all its health back. Faster Fighting-types like Sawk can outspeed and OHKO Absol, while taking little damage from Sucker Punch. Faster Pokemon in general with Substitute, like Jynx, can prop up a Substitute to dodge Sucker Punch, then OHKO Absol with their moves since it's relatively frail. Weezing will wall all non-Psycho Cut versions and can burn it. Likewise, Tangela walls all non-Megahorn variants.
Haunter @ Leftovers, Levitate | #7
Timid Nature; 4 HP / 252 SpA / 252 Spe
Substitute / Sludge Bomb / Shadow Ball / Hidden Power Ground or Disable
What does it do? Haunter is really frail, but quite fast and powerful specially. Its Sludge Bomb is its most powerful move and Shadow Ball gives it decent coverage, while HP Ground hits Skuntank. Disable is particularly useful if you want to use it as a spinblocker, as most spinblockers only run one other move for coverage - you can disable this move as they try to break your Sub, and then you have free reign to do whatever. Choice and Life Orb sets are also fairly common.

How do I beat it? Attack it. It's so so so incredibly frail that no matter what you hit it with, it will probably die. Beware Disable, though - try to bring Pokemon with two moves that can hit it. Outspeeding it will avoid damage, too. Skuntank, Probopass, and Bastiodon all work well if you can avoid HP Ground. Cinccino is immune to Shadow Ball and will outspeed Haunter; plus, its Rock Blast will break the Substitute and continue to hit Haunter, so it's a relatively safe way to handle it.

Lickilicky @ Leftovers, Own Tempo | #8
Careful Nature; 252 HP / 4 Atk / 252 SpD
Wish / Protect / Return / Dragon Tail or Heal Bell
What does it do? Lickilicky is usually seen as a bulky special wall, with massive Wishes. It can check most special threats and recover off the damage as well as support the team with Heal Bell and Dragon Tail. It's also relatively powerful even without investment - those Returns can hurt. Also, SD variants have been known to show up from time to time, so watch out for them, as they can catch you off-guard pretty easily.

How do I beat it? Fighting-type moves will annihilate Lickilicky, although it has pretty good physical bulk too, so don't expect it to go down without a fight. Sawk, Gurdurr, and Throh all have their way with Lickilicky. Other powerful physical attackers like Golem and Absol can also beat it, although Absol should try to avoid taking multiple Returns (it won't be able to live through them). Trick-using Pokemon, such as Rotom-S and Rotom-F and Gardevoir, can all lock Lickilicky into one move and prevent it from doing its duties. Likewise, stuff with Encore like Raichu can use Encore to lock it into Protect or Wish and then set up on it.
Swellow @ Toxic Orb, Guts | #9
Jolly Nature; 4 HP / 252 Atk / 252 Spe
Facade / Brave Bird / U-turn / Protect or Quick Attack
What does it do? Swellow is one of the fastest sweepers available in NU, and its Facade is absolutely monstrous. It will easily 2HKO most Pokemon in the metagame, and when coupled with Spikes, Swellow is one of the most fearsome Pokemon in NU. Brave Bird provides additional coverage against Pokemon that resist Normal-type moves (read: Ghost-types), and you should really never use Brave Bird against anything but Ghost-types as it causes a ton of recoil damage and is actually less powerful than Facade in most situations. U-turn allows Swellow to flee from an incoming Rock-type, and then switch to something appropriate to deal with it. Protect will activate the Toxic Orb, while Quick Attack allows it to pick off really fast Pokemon or defeat Absol.

How do I beat it? Despite its immense power, Swellow is walled by quite a few Pokemon in the metagame. Nearly all Rock-types are good checks: Golem, Regirock, Lairon, Probopass, and Bastiodon all make for excellent checks. Gigalith and Carracosta are two more offensive options to work with. Alomomola will be able to tank any of Swellow's attacks and recover the damage from it with Wish and Protect. Residual damage is Swellow's worst enemy, and Toxic damage along with Stealth Rock damage and potential Brave Bird recoil means that Swellow will find its end shortly after it arrives.
Misdreavus @ Eviolite, Levitate | #10
Bold Nature; 252 HP / 232 Def / 24 Spe
Shadow Ball / Will-O-Wisp / Pain Split / Heal Bell or Taunt
What does it do? Misdreavus is most often seen as a physically defensive Pokemon on balanced or stall teams, usually present to keep Sawk in check, prevent hazards from being spun away, and providing Heal Bell support. Misdreavus is incredibly physically bulky, and can check a number of physical threats. It can also use a bulky Calm Mind set, and a more offensive Nasty Plot set to catch its usual checks and counters off-guard. Toxic also appears sometimes in place of Will-O-Wisp; otherwise, Misdreavus struggles to beat Cryogonal.

How do I beat it? While physically bulky, Misdreavus is susceptible to powerful special attacks. Magmortar and Charizard can switch in on a Will-O-Wisp and do a ton of damage with Fire Blast. Dark-types like Absol and Skuntank can power through its defenses and KO it with their STAB moves. Faster Pokemon with Substitute can set up a Substitute and attack without fear of Will-O-Wisp or Toxic. Swellow is a special case - while it's immune to everything that Misdreavus can do, it can only attack her with Brave Bird, which often means Swellow will be going down as well. Ursaring, on the other hand, can OHKO it with Crunch, and use Will-O-Wisp to activate Guts (don't switch into WoW when you have Quick Feet, or your Attack will still be cut!).
Quagsire @ Leftovers, Unaware | #11
Relaxed Nature; 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Scald / Earthquake / Recover / Toxic
What does it do? Well, you play OU, don't you? Quagsire is one of the few Pokemon who have just barely not enough usage in every other team to remain there. It's fallen all the way to NU, despite being useful in OU! Quagsire makes as a decent physical wall, checking boosting Pokemon such as Samurott and Absol. Scald inflicts burns occasionally, Earthquake provides a useful secondary STAB, and Toxic does... well, Toxic. Recover is perhaps the most important move on this set, though, as it provides Quagsire with a way to recover its health!

How do I beat it? Grass-types, especially Grass / Poison-types such as Vileplume and Amoonguss. They aren't bothered by anything Quagsire throws at them, and can OHKO with their Grass-type moves! If a Grass-type isn't what you want, Toxic will easily lay waste to Quagsire. It cannot sit there and continue to recover while it's slowly dying of poison. Other Pokemon can simply catch Quagsire off-guard; special variants of Samurott, for example, can 2HKO Quagsire expecting to deal with a Swords Dance version.

Probopass @ Leftovers, Sturdy | #12
Calm Nature; 252 HP / 4 Def / 252 SpD
Stealth Rock / Earth Power or Power Gem / Volt Switch / Thunder Wave
What does it do? Probopass is one of the few available Steel-types in NU, and one of the best as far as Special Defense is concerned. Thanks to its typing, Probopass can check multiple threats, from Swellow to non-Focus Blast Jynx. It also functions as a solid pivot, as it can set Stealth Rock and paralyze half a team with Thunder Wave, then Volt Switch out. Power Gem and Earth Power both check Fire-types, but provide different coverage (Power Gem helps with Butterfree and has STAB, while Earth Power lets Probopass hurt some common switch-ins such as Golem). Volt Switch is the momentum move, allowing the mustachioed compass to switch out of battle as it pleases.

How do I beat it?Ground-types do a number to Probopass, as they are immune to half of its moveset, resist its primary STAB move, and resist Stealth Rock. Torterra is one of the best checks to Probopass in general, as it can switch in with impunity and OHKO it with Earthquake. Fighting-types like Sawk and Gurdurr can easily OHKO Probopass. Probopass also finds itself as set-up bait, because its attacks aren't particularly powerful. For example, Leafeon can set up a Substitute to avoid Thunder Wave, and can set up Swords Dances while Probopass 2HKOes the Substitute. Curse Quagsire can also set up on Probopass, recovering off the minute damage from Earth Power.

Armaldo @ Leftovers, Battle Armor | #13
Adamant Nature; 252 HP / 252 Atk / 4 Spe
Rapid Spin / Stone Edge / X-Scissor / Earthquake or Stealth Rock
What does it do? Armaldo is the most common Rapid Spin user in NU, and for good reason. It's got a great base 125 Attack and two great STAB moves, so it's sure to scare off quite a few Pokemon and most of the hazard setters. It's pitifully slow, though, and it's weak to every kind of entry hazard, so be cautious. Armaldo can also lay Stealth Rock on its own, if you're willing to give up the coverage that Earthquake brings. Stone Edge is its most powerful move; however, if the dismal accuracy of Stone Edge bothers you, you can always opt for the less-powerful Rock Slide. X-Scissor covers Grass-types and in combination with Stone Edge, hits most of the metagame neutrally.

How do I beat it? Armaldo's STAB moves are resisted by Steel- and Fighting-type Pokemon, so use those to your advantage when handling Armaldo. Gurdurr has no trouble with Armaldo at all, as it can just Bulk Up while Armaldo tries to whittle away at Gurdurr's HP, then Drain Punch and regain all of its health. Likewise, Sawk can easily switch in and OHKO with Stone Edge. Misdreavus will block Armaldo's Rapid Spin, and can then proceed to burn and kill Armaldo, taking pitiful damage from Stone Edge. Gorebyss and other Water-types can switch in and OHKO Armaldo with their STAB moves.

Altaria @ Leftovers, Natural Cure | #14
Adamant Nature; 252 Atk / 4 Def / 252 Spe
Dragon Dance / Dragon Claw / Earthquake / Roost
What does it do? Aside from being the only fully-evolved Dragon-type in NU, Altaria has a wide variety of roles it can perform. It can act as a specially defensive cleric with Roost and Heal Bell, a physical brute with Dragon Dance (the listed set), or it can surprise counters with a Choice Specs Draco Meteor. Altaria's typing is very good in NU, allowing it to switch in on various attacks and take little damage, then proceed to set up or do whatever. Altaria isn't immediately dangerous thanks to meh 70 / 70 offensive stats, but it's pretty bulky, and can definitely spell doom if you let it boost too much.

How do I beat it? The first thing to do is identify the set that Altaria is running. Quagsire is usually a great switch-in, as Dragon Dance sets are hardcore stopped by it, although Quaggy won't enjoy eating a specs Draco Meteor. Rock-types such as Regirock and Carracosta can take even a boosted Earthquake and threaten to OHKO with Stone Edge. If you expect a special set, Regice will tank any of Altaria's moves, even Fire Blast, and will OHKO in return with Ice Beam. Because it's so pathetic offensively to begin with, physical walls such as Tangela will usually do the trick, and then you can work from there.
Tangela @ Eviolite, Regenerator | #15
Bold Nature; 252 HP / 252 Def / 4 SpD
Giga Drain / Sleep Powder / Hidden Power Rock or Hidden Power Ice / Leech Seed
What does it do? Tangela is by far the best physical wall available in NU. When equipped with an Eviolite, Tangela's defensive capabilities are equivalent of Skarmory's, although Tangela doesn't have Spikes or Whirlwind. Instead, Tangela has Regenerator, which is an amazing ability, and Giga Drain for recovery and STAB. Sleep Powder is invaluable, although Tangela must beware incoming Magmortar. HP Rock will damage most everything that Tangela's STAB won't (Swellow, Magmortar), but HP Ice often helps against opposing Grass-types like Leafeon. Leech Seed is the final move, and can prevent Pokemon like Magmortar from switching in as easily as they might think.

How do I beat it? Tangela has abysmal Special Defense. Even non-STAB Ice Beams will almost surely OHKO the vine monster. Magmortar can actually switch in easily, and OHKO with Fire Blast - or, knowing that Tangela will flee at the sight of Magmortar, use the proper move for the predicted switch-in. Swellow and Braviary can power through Tangela's defenses with their Brave Birds and 2HKO it. Toxic is a death sentence for Tangela, as it cannot get rid of it on its own. Jynx can set up a Substitute to avoid Leech Seed and Sleep Powder and can OHKO it with Ice Beam. Gorebyss, Samurott, and other Water-types can use Ice Beam to KO Tangela, too, although they cannot switch in very easily.
And while they may not have analyses now, three new Pokemon have just dropped from RU to NU and are surely going to be popular if you plan on playing on the NU ladder, so expect to see them around often! There aren't any standard sets developed yet for these guys, but there are a few developing trends that I can definitely tell you guys about if you want to know! Anyway, here they are, in all their glory:

tl;dr: No, go back and read it. It's all relevant information, and if you want to play NU you best learn about what's in it!

Okay, okay, Vrai, I read all that. What do I do now?

Well... now, you build a team and test it on the server! There are a ton of Pokemon you can use, and if you want to know their best sets... well, you can just click here and find out! The link I just gave you is a list of all of the Pokemon who have analyses available for NU, although not all of them are done yet (namely, Camerupt, Eelektross, Skuntank, Carracosta, and Granbull aren't done, as well as the newcomers). You can certainly use those Pokemon in the top 15 if you want, but there's a whole world of opportunities for you to explore, and many that I haven't talked about here yet!

References and Resources

List of NU Pokemon analyses
A list of all Pokemon in NU, save NFEs (remember, you can sort these by their stats by clicking on the arrows next to each stat!)
NU usage statistics
Smogon's current NU discussion thread (use this to see what experienced players have to say about the metagame and the sets/Pokemon they are using!)


Anyway, I hope I didn't go too incredibly tl;dr on you, but I also hope this was a thorough introduction to the NU metagame (and I hope I didn't forget anything ;;)! There's a lot to be said, learned, and discussed, so please post your thoughts and experiences! I'll be on PC's PO server and I'll definitely play an NU match or two if you want, and hopefully so will a lot of other people. I'm excited and looking forward to see all of you who want to try out NU!